Today, I preached on Isaiah 28:16: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” The Scriptures make it very clear, in multiple passages, that this is a reference to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We closed our service with the hymn “By Grace I’m Saved.” When we composed our hymnal, we only had three verses — I learned later that there are many verses to the hymn. The three we had were wonderful, but they seemed to me, to use a modern expression, to “lack closure.”
You can’t stop a hymn with singing about “thy heart is seeking rest,” you have to sing that you WILL have rest! So I adapted a fourth verse, tying together the emphasis of the prior stanzas on being unshaken in our faith, with the truth of Isaiah 28:16. It was good to have a hymn in our hymnal that so well fit with today’s sermon.
By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless;
My soul, believe and doubt it not.
Why should we stagger at God’s promise?
Hath Scripture ever falsehood taught?
By grace I’m saved, not by my own merit:
Our works, our conduct have no worth.
God in His love sent our Redeemer.
Christ Jesus came to sinful earth.
By grace I’m saved, O, wonderful promise
When thou art by thy sins oppressed,
When Satan plagues thy troubled conscience,
And when thy heart is seeking rest.
By grace I’m saved, and heaven awaits me.
My Saviour is the foundation stone.
Feelings or doubts shall not ever shake me
Trusting God’s grace, in Jesus alone.
Words: Christian L. Scheidt, 1709-1761
The tune we use, BUNESSAN, is a Gaelic tune first used for Mary Macdonald’s hymn, Child in a Manger (words below the video, this is also a good hymn though we haven’t used it in our church). The tune name comes from Macdonald’s birthplace on the Isle of Mull.
Unfortunately, the tune was co-opted and made famous by a well-known singer. He used it with words that are of significantly less theological value, and so most people know it by the name, “Morning Has Broken.” We reclaimed it for use with a wonderful hymn of God’s grace.
Our recording today is with the harp, which means it is a little slower than we usually sing the hymn, but it is done beautifully, and you can still sing along if you want. Then, you can play it again and sing Child in a Manger with it if you want. As a bonus, this recording comes with scenes of Scotland, so it’s hard to argue with that!
Child in a Manger
Child in the manger, Infant of Mary;
Outcast and stranger, Lord of all;
Child who inherits All our transgressions,
All our demerits On Him fall.
Once the most holy Child of salvation
Gently and lowly Lived below;
Now as our glorious Mighty Redeemer,
See Him victorious O’er each foe.
Prophets foretold Him Infant of wonder;
Angels behold Him On His throne;
Worthy our Saviour Of all our praises;
Happy forever Are His own.