He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men. Yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable, that the children loved to play with him and the little ones nestled in his arms.
His presence at the innocent joy of a village wedding, was like the presence of sunshine. No one was half so kind or compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red-hot scorching words about sin. A bruised reed he would not break. His whole life was love. Yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees, how they were expected to escape the damnation of hell.
He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism, he has all of us self-styled realists soundly beaten. He was the servant of all, washing the disciples’ feet, yet masterfully he strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away in their mad rush from the fire they saw blazing in his eyes. He saved others, yet at the last, he himself did not save.
There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels; the mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality.
James Stewart, Scottish theologian
Sung by Prince William, Catherine (Kate) Middleton, the Royal Family, and all of the wedding guests (okay, most of them just kind of moved their lips) you might like to know the history and legacy of this once popular hymn:
Encouraged by the Welsh Methodists to update their hymnal, William Williams Pantycelyn (1719-1791, an aspiring hymn writer penned his most famous song “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” which first appeared in 1745 in a Welsh hymnal, published by Wiliiams in Bristol, England, named “Hallelujah. Williams, the “Sweet Singer of Wales,” produced about 800 hymns. S.W. Duffield claimed that Williams, an avid revivalist Methodist preacher, did for Wales what Wesley and Watts did for England.
“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” or “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” originally consisted of five six-line stanzas and was entitled in Welsh “Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch” (in English, Lord, Lead Me Through the Wilderness).
The hymn is usually sung to John Hughes‘ Cwm Rhondda. This song, known as the Welsh rugby hymn, has been translated into seventy-five languages. It is so loved in Wales that it is considered an unofficial national anthem.
In 1771, Peter Williams (no relation to William Williams) translated stanzas 1, 3 and 5 into English and published them in his Hymns on Various Subjects, 1771. A year later, William Williams, or possibly his son, John Williams, translated another English version, using Peter Williams’ first stanza, then translating stanzas 3 and 4, and adding a new stanza as verse 4. He published it a pamphlet with these words: “A favorite hymn sung by Lady Huntingdon’s Young Collegians. Printed by the desire of many Christian friends. Lord, give it Thy blessing!” Most hymnals only use the first three stanzas of this translation.
The hymn can be heard sung in Welsh in John Ford’s Academy-Award-winning film of 1941, How Green Was My Valley and was sung at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997.
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
[or Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer…]
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st Thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer,
Sin, and Satan and the grave,
Sin, and Satan and the grave.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.
Musing on my habitation,
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
This hymn speaks of our weakness and the power of God. It speaks of God’s ability to supply our need. It also speak of sin, death, hell and eternal life. Would to God that people today would take to heart these timeless truths.
The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy, was written in 1894 and published in Germany, where liberal theology or “Higher Criticism” had already taken a foothold. Since Tolstoy used much of this book to lambaste the Russian government, I’m sure the Germans were all too happy to help the manuscript discover the light of day.
Tolstoy seems to very anti-institutional in his overall worldview. In this theological treatise, he rails against the Orthodox, the Catholics, the Protestants (specifically the Lutherans) and even the Salvation Army.
The main gist of his argument seems to be that religious institutions prey on the masses for their own financial gain and political power. He is rather heterodox in some of his theological views, such as denying the infallibility of the Old Testament, being skeptical of miracles, opposing the church creeds on their key points, declaring that modern science and the Bible are not compatible and even claiming that man is the son of God with the same essence of God himself, and this is what makes love for other human animals possible.
It is clear why this book has not become a household favorite of conservative Evangelicals. However, as with most people who are frustrated with religion as it is currently held, many of his rebukes of the church are well-founded.
Tolstoy’s view of Christianity is that it is the moral teachings of Jesus (found in the Sermon on the Mount) that have value to all humans. Rather than believing in the miraculous or the historical claims of the Bible, Tolstoy feels that Christianity has much to give to world in terms of loving neighbors, loving God and avoiding war and retaliation for wrongs.
Overall, if I didn’t know better, I would assume that I were reading Doug Paggit, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Donald Miller or some other Emergent Church author who is decrying Modernity and the Modern church. Perhaps Tolstoy was ahead of his time. Or perhaps it is true that there is nothing new under the sun.
This is a powerful message by David Wilkerson, a minister of the gospel, who passed away on April 27, 2011:
May we recover a willingness to grieve over the things that break God’s heart!
Shane Idleman is a man who sounds like he got dropped here from a century or two ago. Here is some old-fashioned preaching with a timeless message of Truth.
May the Lord grant us more preachers who will boldly declare God’s Word as absolute truth.
To learn more about Shane’s ministry visit: