Two Hymns & Songs Christian Love & Loving Christ
Christian Hearts in Love United. HerrnHut (Lord’s House (Watch, Covering, Hiding-Place))
In preparation of Reflections Concerning Church Missions it seems most appropriate to share these two Hymnal Songs with brief remarks as to their story and significance. And since God has been kind enough to see me through the heart monitor surgery with success and good prospect, I waste no time to share this blessing also. As a Christian, Christian Love or brotherly love, that is love for other Christians, has been a most sorrowful journey. My own testimony is filled with stories and instances of this conflict and trial. We all know that Scripture teaches us to love God and the Lord Jesus absolutely, to love our neighbor as our self, to love the brethren in Christ, that is to love fellow Christians and disciples of Jesus, and to love all men as God loves us (the world for which Christ died), love others for His sake Who loves us and lives for us. He Himself said: “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples; if you have love for one another…as I loved you… you are My friends, not servants, if you love one another as I and the Father loved you.” Yet from the very beginning in the Apostles’ day the truth was tested and assaulted to the extent that such great prevalence of persecution, violence, distortion, and deceptions, the love of many grew cold. This test of truth and orthodoxy, of doctrines and practices, what is called theological purity and scriptural accuracy, continues to this very hour in the Christian Church and Christian World. In the day of judgment the most holy and righteous Judge of all the world, especially of His House, will reward each one the just and right recompense as measured by love and truth. We must ever guard our minds and hearts against malice and rejection of the love of others towards God and man, with this measure, that we cannot harm the truth with love proper, for those who are not against us are for us, and those who gather with us are not scattering against us. our Christian Life must be of Christ’s love, then our Christian Work will be the work of the Holy Spirit in Missions and Ministries for God’s Kingdom.
We come to the Moravian-Bohemian United Brethren (Unitas Fratrum) of the 18th century in central Europe (the old Czech Republic) bordered by Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia. Nicholaus Louis, Count of Zinzendorf and other places. “Zinzendorf was a poet, a theologian, a pastor, a missionary, and a statesman. He was a man of high rank, but chose to pass most of his life among the poor and oppressed. His mind was of that ardent and imaginative cast which often gives birth to grand and brilliant schemes, and he possessed the practical wisdom required to work them out. But he concentrated all his energies on a single point. He had but one thought—one desire—and that was to extend the knowledge of the gospel. When but a child he formed the resolution to consecrate himself entirely to Christ.” His enemies said he was like Cromwell; his admirers likened him to Ignatius of Loyola founder of the Jesuits Order. Ignatius devoted himself to loving and honoring Mary, but Zinzendorf to loving and preaching Christ. The former by the Inquisition tried to eradicate heresy as defined by the Roman Catholic Church, the latter sought to unite Protestants to evangelize the world. He spoke and wrote as a dignified plain common Christian man, using words in German dialects as he was moved, adding Latin, Greek, and French, then still appealing to English and Dutch to clarify. Thus accurate translation is most difficult. (from Rev John Gill’s “The Banished Count”, from which I learn much useful facts.)
He was a nobleman with a family history going back to the Reformation, converted to Lutheranism in the 16th century. His forefathers suffered persecution for their faith, and he cherished the accounts of their faithfulness in sufferings for Christ as a very young boy. Though he prized his noble family heritage in time he would willingly discard these honors to not impede the gospel missions. The Reformers (Lutherans, Calvinists, Zwinglians, and others) had systematized almost every Biblical Doctrine as a new dogmatic theology, (with their new creeds, confessions, and articles of faith,) following the steps of Catholic Scholastics as Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus and the like. And this Neo-Catholicism was pregnant with the seed of Pietism and Mysticism which would germinate in Count Zinzendorf. The birth of the neo-Protestants in the German Pietist Movement was Spener who “did not divide men, as the other theologians of his time did, into orthodox and heretic, but into converted and unconverted.” In England the changes and desire was to purge and reform the Church of England from its predominant Roman Catholic traditions, thus arose in a undefined movement of Puritans and Separatists which we Americans are so familiar with by the history of the Presbyterians and Baptists, and later the Methodists. And so Spener became Zinzendorf’s godfather. His father died when is was 6 yers old; his mother, now widowed, was also of nobility, very educated and intelligent, well versed in Greek and Latin, and fluent in several European tongues; but she soon remarried. In time his education fell to his Baroness grandmother, who was well acquainted with the new Pietist Movement of Spener, Franke, and others. His body was fragile but his mind was ardent; and it is said by the time he was 4 he knew the basic Church Doctrines; he was affectionate to Christ, enjoyed the Church Holy-days and feasts, loved to sing, and cried when he was deprived of hearing Church singing. In very late years he told of his earliest love for the Saviour, often praying and talking to Him for hours; but as he became older he became aware of his ignorance of Christ’s true suffering on our behalf, of his own feeble nature as a sinner, unable to save himself by deeds. Then one day he realized the Creator suffered for him, and in bitter tears was drawn to Him “as One Who understands and knows me even when I am lost and confused. From that day now 50 years ago, I have enjoyed this close personal blessed (relationship) with Jesus, ever growing.” He grew in grace and determined to be a gospel preacher at 10 years of age; but his grandmother and uncle wanted a high rank at Court for him. He studied at Professor Frank’s Orphan’s House and was disciplined in the learning of the day, with plenty of church and scripture. He never swerved from his desire to evangelize the heathens. He wanted to go the the university at Halle (center of Pietism), but he was sent off to Wittenberg (center of Lutheran orthodoxy, and guardians of the Reformation). He took the academical oath at Wittenberg and altered it thus, “I do not swear, but I promise, Me Deus adjuvet.” (God help me!). From Wittenberg he toured Europe to complete his law studies, meeting the world and society at every level, with all their virtues and vices; and surprisingly had better reception and relations with the Catholic clergy, even the Cardinal. On considering marriage to a beautiful and prized Countess’s daughter he willingly and cheerfully gave her up to his friend to the dismay of many. (He would later write to Charles Wesley: “” From that moment, I was freed from all self-seeking, so that for ten years I have not done my own will in anything, great or small. My own will is hell to me.”) Thus at age 21, his adult life, he had seen, visited, observed, and learned of the Christian Churches of every sort, especially of Lutheranism: “”All of us,” said Luther, ” who have been washed and sanctified by the blood of Christ, are members of the true Church ; we are members of Christ, and are brethren, whether we belong to Rome, to Wittenberg, or to Jerusalem.” We leave Count Zinzendorf saying that his desire to preach Christ and unite Christians would soon take place in very surprising ways; he would marry, have 12 children (6+6), but only three daughters would survive him; his wife died; he remarried; he adopted a daughter; and countless other things in a very busy life. He would then become the center of a great Church controversy (with many harmful accusations) from which the modern Moravian United Brethren Church would grow; he would start prayer watches and meetings and ministries that would change and influence the Church and Christianity; he would become the spiritual father of many other movements that hold their heritage to the Moravian-Bohemian Unitas Fratrum; movements like the Methodist Movement, Plymouth Brethren Movement, and the Little Flock Movement. And strongly influence other movements and Christian Societies and Missions; and more.
We conclude with a brief remark concerning those Christians who regard the Moravian Brethren as their forerunners in the move of God on earth through this age. The Wesleys have received very much of the Moravian fountain, and they swam in its rivers and streams; John Wesley wrote often to Zinzendorf, and even solicited and begged him to answer all the accusations being levelled at him and the Moravians. The hymnology of the Methodists and the modern church is richly increased by the Moravians (Zinzendorf composed some 3,000 hymns and songs and poems; some 500 of his songs still are sung in the churches worldwide). Wesley once wrote to Zinzendorf of Christ’s Sacrifice as Self-denial (a favorite word of Zinzendorf), but the Count replied with this often quoted saying: “Do you think it was self-denial for the Lord Jesus to come down from heaven to rescue a world: Was it self-denial? No, it was love — love that swallows up everything, and first of all self.” The Plymouth Brethren have found the fragrance of Christ in the Moravian gardens, models in missions and sufferings, simplicity, humility, zeal, and joy. Though the Plymouth Brethren avoided the mystical excesses of the Moravians they failed to create a corporate community expression anything near that of the Moravians (see Broadbent’s Pilgrim Church, p255-284). This deficiency would be filled in another generation of those blessed and benefitted by the Plymouth Brethren. This is found in the Little Flock Movement which centered in China, and was nourished by England and America. Since this post already has reached a lengthy size I will close this with some remarks from that stream:
“To say that God is recovering certain matters means that through the course of church history they have been lost, misused, or corrupted and that God is restoring them to their original state or condition. Simply put, in the eyes of God, recovery means to bring something back to its original condition. Martin Luther, Count Zinzendorf, John Nelson Darby, Watchman Nee, Witness Lee, and the local churches have all been instrumental in this recovery work of God through the centuries.” “… including Madame Guyon, Father Fenelon, and Brother Lawrence. The seventh tribe was the Moravian brothers under Count Zinzendorf. The eighth tribe was the British Brethren under John Nelson Darby. When the Brethren became full of …””After Count Zinzendorf and the Moravian brethren, he [Watchman Nee] said, the Lord unquestionably raised up the Brethren in the 1820s under the leadership of John Nelson Darby. These British Brethren were much used by the Lord. Before very long …” “In the eighteenth century a great revival was brought in by Count Zinzendorf with the Moravian Brothers. … Watchman Nee considered the Brethren revival as a fulfillment of the church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3, and D. M. … Among them were a number of great teachers, including John Nelson Darby and William Kelly.”
((Nicholaus L., Count Zinzendorf,(Frankfurt & Leipzig, Germany,1725). Translated, German to English as “Flock of Jesus, Be United” (by John Miller and Frederick W. Foster, Moravian Hymn Book, 1789); and as “Grant, Lord, That With Thy Direction” (1808 Supplement to the Moravian Hymn Book). These translations were rewritten into their present form, and the first stanza added, in the 1886 edition of the Moravian Hymn Book.))
Christian hearts, in love united,
Seek alone in Jesus rest;
Has He not your love excited?
Then let love inspire each breast;
Members on our Head depending
Lights reflecting Him, our Sun,
Brethren His commands attending,
We in Him, our Lord, are one.
Come, then, come, O flock of Jesus,
Covenant with Him anew;
Unto Him Who conquered for us,
Pledge we love and service true;
And should our love’s union holy
Firmly linked no more remain,
Wait ye at His footstool lowly,
Till He draw it close again.
Grant, Lord, that with Thy direction,
“Love each other,” we comply,
Aiming with unfeigned affection
Thy love to exemplify;
Let our mutual love be glowing,
Thus will all men plainly see,
That we, as on one stem growing,
Living branches are in Thee.
O that such may be our union,
As Thine with the Father is,
And not one of our communion
E’er forsake the path of bliss;
May our light ’fore men with brightness,
From Thy light reflected, shine;
Thus the world will bear us witness,
That we, Lord, are truly Thine.
((This Hymn-Song I encountered over 40 years ago while among the Local Churches of the Living Stream (Lord’s Recovery of Witness Lee.) Although I memorized it and have often sung and shared it, the copy below I have taken from the internet on several cites, with attribution of Unknown or R.K., and copyright confusion. An in-law many years one of them said this along with many other songs are in the Living Stream Supplement, and were never copyrighted (which my hand copy confirms), nor with any initials of authorship appended to them; she is not persuaded that R.K. is the author, nor that R.K. stands for Ron Kangas prominent among them. This said it comes from experience of Christ as found in the Song of Solomon and the New Testament, composed perhaps in the early 70s, in my hand copy hymnbook I noted circa 1970. I make no changes, except I have put in parenthesis words that I changed orally when I used it.))
(Jesus Lord), I’m captured by Thy beauty,
All my heart to Thee I open wide;
Now set free from all (religious) duty,
Only let me in Thyself abide.
As I’m gazing here upon Thy glory,
Fill my heart with radiancy divine;
Saturate me, Lord, I now implore Thee,
Mingle now Thy Spirit, Lord, with mine.
Shining One—how clear the sky above me!
Son of Man, I see Thee on the throne!
Holy One, the flames of God consume me,
Till my being glows with Thee alone.
Lord, when first I saw Thee in Thy splendor,
All self-love and glory sank in shame;
Now my heart its love and praises render,
Tasting all the sweetness of Thy name.
Precious Lord, my flask of alabaster
Gladly now I break in love for Thee;
I anoint Thy head, Beloved Master;
Lord, behold, I’ve saved the best for Thee.
Dearest Lord, I waste myself upon Thee;
Loving Thee, I’m deeply satisfied.
Love outpoured from hidden depths within me,
Costly oil, dear Lord, I would provide.
(My) Beloved, come on spices’ mountain;
How I yearn to see Thee face to face.
Drink, dear Lord, from my heart’s flowing fountain,
Till I rest fore’er in Thine embrace.
Not alone, O Lord, do I adore Thee,
But with all the saints as Thy dear Bride;
Quickly come, our love is waiting for Thee;
Jesus Lord, Thou wilt be satisfied.