Week 8: Long Meter Variants



And Can It Be

Text: Charles Wesley (1707–1788), 1738

Tune: Thomas Campbell (1777–1844), 1825

  1. Appropriately, as a “conversion hymn” the text centers around the concept of salvation. What ideas does Wesley show in his text that makes this grace so “amazing”?
    • We don’t deserve grace, but we’re granted it anyway!
      • Stanza 1 repeats the phrase “for me” three times in total
      • Christ died for the one who “caused his pain”
    • Christ’s death makes us alive
      • The original stanza 5 contains the line “I feel the Life his Wounds impart”
    • The mystery of the incarnation is amazing
      • Stanza 2, “the immortal dies”
      • Stanza 3, “left his father’s throne above … emptied himself of all but love”
    • The scope of God’s grace is amazing – it’s for everyone!
      • Stanza 3, “Adam’s helpless race” and “tis mercy all, immense and free”
    • Grace is not just free, but sets us free
      • Stanza 4, “my chains fell off, my heart was free”
      • This is a parallel to Paul’s freedom from jail in Acts 16:25-26

Before Thy Throne, O God, We Kneel

Text: William Boyd Carpenter (1841–1918), 1925

Tune: Dmitri Bortnianski (1751–1825), 1822

  1. Both “And Can It Be” and “Before Thy Throne” deal with the concept of freedom from sin, but with somewhat different perspectives. What similarities and differences do you see between the two hymns on this topic?
    • Both hymns show our need for humility
      • In “And Can It Be”, we “cause [Christ’s] pain” and are “bound in sin”
      • In “Before Thy Throne”, we need to be taught to “know our faults”
    • There is a difference between salvation and sanctification
      • “Before Thy Throne” shows a process of growth through trials
        • Stanza 1, “whate’er the pain and shame may be”
        • Stanza 2, “train us with thy rod”
        • Stanza 4, “fierce fires which burn and try”
      • “And Can It Be” shows the immediate cleansing power of Christ
        • Stanza 4, “my heart was free” in a flash of light
        • Stanza 5, even with past sins “no condemnation now I dread”


  1. Read the hymn “Imperfect Child of Perfect God”, whose theme is similar to both “And Can It Be” and “Before Thy Throne”. List places that you think work well, and places that need improvement. What changes would you suggest? Consider the following areas:
    • Meter and rhyme
    • Word choice and imagery
    • Scripture references
    • Flow of ideas