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Christ the Friend of Sinners3030Probably the hymn written on his conversion by Charles Wesley. Compare his Journal, under date May 23, 1738. “Least of all would he [the enemy] have us tell what things God has done for our souls... In His name, therefore, and through His strength, I will perform my vows unto the Lord, of not hiding His righteousness within my heart, if it should ever please Him to plant it there.” (Vol. 1, p.94.) The same hymn was probably sung next day, when his brother John was able to declare, “I believe.” (Ib., p.95.)

Where shall my wondering soul begin?

How shall I all to heaven aspire?

A slave redeem’d from death and sin,

A brand pluck’d from eternal fire,

How shall I equal triumphs raise,

And sing my great Deliverer’s praise!

O, how shall I the goodness tell,

Father, which Thou to me hast show’d?

That I, a child of wrath and hell,

I should be call’d a child of God!

Should know, should feel my sins forgiven,

Blest with this antepast of heaven!

And shall I slight my Father’s love,

Or basely fear His gifts to own?

Unmindful of His favours prove?

Shall I, the hallow’d cross to shun,

Refuse His righteousness to impart,

By hiding it within my heart?

No—though the ancient dragon rage,

And call forth all his hosts to war;

Though earth’s self-righteous sons engage;

Them, and their god, alike I dare:

Jesus, the sinner’s Friend, proclaim;

Jesus, to sinners still the same.

Outcasts of men, to you I call,

Harlots, and publicans, and thieves!

He spreads His arms to embrace you all;

Sinners alone His grace receives:

No need of Him the righteous have,

He came the lost to seek and save.

Come, all ye Magdalens in lust,

Ye ruffians fell in murders old;3131This line is borrowed from a poem in the “Arminian Magazine,” vol. 1, p.283: “The ruffian fell in murders old.”

Repent, and live: despair and trust!

Jesus for you to death was sold;

Though hell protest, and earth repine,

He died for crimes like yours and mine.

Come, O my guilty brethren, come,

Groaning beneath your load of sin!

His bleeding heart shall make you room.

His open side shall take you in.

He calls you now, invites you home:

Come, O my guilty brethren, come!

For you the purple current flow’d

In pardons from His wounded side:

Languish’d for you the eternal God,

For you the Prince of Glory died.

Believe, and all your guilt’s forgiven;

Only believe—and yours is heaven.

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