Story Behind The Hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?”

Not many hymns begin with a question as does this one. However, it is not an expression of doubt but of wonder and awe.

How can it be that the shedding of Jesus blood 1900 years ago is relevant to me today?

How was it possible for the Song of God to have died for me?

Why should our Lord empty Himself of all His divine glory and become a man, in order to save Adams helpless race?

There is considerable evidence that this hymn was written by Charles Wesley soon after his own conversion. Charles Wesleys crisis experience occurred on May 20, 1738. He had been sick in body as well as in spirit. It seemed that God spoke to him through a vision. According to his Journal, this confrontation took place after reading the bible for some time.

Following is his account:
At midnight I gave myself up to Christ: assured I was safe, sleeping or waking. I had continued experience of his power to overcome all temptation; and confessed, with joy and surprise, that he was able to do exceedingly abundantly for me, above what I can ask or think.

And Can It Be That I Should Gain? – Hymn Lyrics

1 And can it be, that I should gain
An interest in the Saviours blood`?
Died he for me, who caused his pain?
For me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

2 Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine!
Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel-minds inquire no more.

3 He left his Fathers throne above,
(So free, so infinite his grace!)
Emptied himself of all but love,
And bled for Adams helpless race:
Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

4 Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and natures night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

5 No condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

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