A Song Of Grace -- By: Anonymous
JOTGES 4:1 (Spring 91) p. 99
A Song Of Grace
Once For Alla
1 Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus bath bled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace bath redeemed us once for all.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it;
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
2 Now are we free-there’s no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation;
“Come unto Me,” O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.
3 “Children of God,” O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call,
Blessed salvation once for all.
Philip P. Bliss (1838–1876)
“Once for All,” by Philip Bliss, is an example of the American “gospel song,” which became popular during the nineteenth century. Gospel Songs, the title of a collection of Bliss’s works, published in 1874, two years before his death, in fact provided the term which has since been used for hymns of this type. With its roots in American folk hymnody,
JOTGES 4:1 (Spring 91) p. 100
but composed, written down, and published by individuals, the gospel song is to sacred music what the works of Stephen Foster are to secular music.1 Its simple tune, repeated refrain, and simple harmonic structure with infrequent chord changes make the typical gospel song easy to learn and remember.2 This quality made these compositions particularly effective in the evangelistic movements of the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
Philip Bliss, a Baptist, was associated with two of the noted evangelists of the period-Dwight L. Moody and Major D. W. Whittle. “The effectiveness of Bliss’s singing … first brought to Moody an awareness of the real value of music in his work. At Moody’s insistence, Bliss abandoned his teaching … and became song leader for Major D. W. Whittle …”3 Bliss was not only a talented singer and song leader, but a gifted and prolific composer and lyricist as well.
A frequent criticism of gospel songs is that they are linguistically trite, doctrinally weak, and musically dull. If such be true, “Once for All” is an outstanding exception! The author has used language skillfully and creatively to communicate profound, scriptural salvation truths. The phrases, “Cursed by the law and bruis...
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