“The Horrible Decree” by Charles Wesley


Charles Wesley was a prolific hymnist, with approximately 9000 hymns and sacred poems to his name. Among my favorites are “And Can It Be?” and “O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing!” Welsey–along with his brother John–were also a theological polemicist, however, who wrote his polemics into his songs. One of his most blunt anti-Calvinist hymns is “The Horrible Decree,” which refers to the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement. Here’s the text of the hymn, not exactly in honor of Calvin’s birthday, but apropos of it nonetheless.

[1] Ah! Gentle, gracious Dove,
And art thou griev’d in me,
That sinners should restrain thy love,
And say, “It is not free:
It is not free for all:
The most, thou passest by,
And mockest with a fruitless call
Whom thou hast doom’d to die.”

[2] They think thee not sincere
In giving each his day,
“ Thou only draw’st the sinner near
To cast him quite away,
To aggravate his sin,
His sure damnation seal:
Thou shew’st him heaven, and say’st, go in
And thrusts him into hell.”38

[3] O HORRIBLE DECREE
Worthy of whence it came!
Forgive their hellish blasphemy
Who charge it on the Lamb:
Whose pity him inclin’d
To leave his throne above,
The friend, and Saviour of mankind,
The God of grace, and love.

[4] O gracious, loving Lord,
I feel thy bowels yearn;
For those who slight the gospel word
I share in thy concern:
How art thou grieved to be
By ransom’d worms withstood!
How dost thou bleed afresh to see
Them trample on thy blood!

[5] To limit thee they dare,
Blaspheme thee to thy face,
Deny their fellow-worms a share
In thy redeeming grace:
All for their own they take,
Thy righteousness engross,
Of none effect to most they make
The merits of thy cross.

[6] Sinners, abhor the fiend:
His other gospel hear—
“The God of truth did not intend
The thing his words declare,
He offers grace to all,
Which most cannot embrace,
Mock’d with an ineffectual call
And insufficient grace.

[7] “The righteous God consign’d
Them over to their doom,
And sent the Saviour of mankind
To damn them from the womb;
To damn for falling short,
“Of what they could not do,
For not believing the report
Of that which was not true.

[8] “The God of love pass’d by
The most of those that fell,
Ordain’d poor reprobates to die,
And forced them into hell.”
“He did not do the deed”
(Some have more mildly rav’d)
“He did not damn them—but decreed
They never should be saved.

[9] “He did not them bereave
Of life, or stop their breath,
His grace he only would not give,
And starv’ed their souls to death.”
Satanic sophistry!
But still, all-gracious God,
They charge the sinner’s death on thee,
Who bought’st him with thy blood.

[10] They think with shrieks and cries
To please the Lord of hosts,
And offer thee, in sacrifice
Millions of slaughter’d ghosts:
With new-born babes they fill
The dire infernal shade,
“For such,” they say, “was thy great will,
Before the world was made.”

[11] How long, O God, how long
Shall Satan’s rage proceed!
Wilt thou not soon avenge the wrong,
And crush the serpent’s head?
Surely thou shalt at last
Bruise him beneath our feet:
The devil and his doctrine cast
Into the burning pit.

[12] Arise, O God, arise,
Thy glorious truth maintain,
Hold forth the bloody sacrifice,
For every sinner slain!
Defend thy mercy’s cause,
Thy grace divinely free,
Lift up the standard of thy cross,
Draw all men unto thee.

[13] O vindicate thy grace,
Which every soul may prove,
Us in thy arms of love embrace,
Of everlasting love.
Give the pure gospel word,
Thy preachers multiply,
Let all confess their common Lord,
And dare for him to die.

[14] My life I here present,
My heart’s last drop of blood,
O let it all be freely spent
In proof that thou art good,
Art good to all that breathe,
Who all may pardon have:
Thou willest not the sinner’s death,
But all the world wouldst save.

[15] O take me at my word,
But arm me with thy power,
Then call me forth to suffer, Lord,
To meet the fiery hour:
In death will I proclaim
That all may hear thy call,
And clap my hands amidst the flame,
And shout,—HE DIED FOR ALL.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on ““The Horrible Decree” by Charles Wesley

Add yours

  1. GOD DID NOT CREATE A SO-CALLED HELL…
    By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work of creation. According to the creation account, “[T]he heavens and the earth were COMPLETED in all their vast array. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from ALL THE WORK OF CREATING that he had done” (Gen 2:1-2). When it says God “finished ALL his work,” that would certainly include the ultimate work of creation in, through, and for his created beings. On the seventh day God “rested” from all his work. He could have only found rest in the knowledge that ALL of his created beings would eventually end up safe and secure. He could not have “blessed” the creative work of his hands and designated it “holy” if any part of it would ultimately end up unblessed and unholy as a prison of so-called eternal conscious torture (hell). There is no verse of scripture in the creation account of Genesis suggesting that God created such a horrible place as the traditional hell. However, there is a scripture stating that God created everything that was created – “for his pleasure,” as follows: Revelation 4:11 KJV)…
    “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created ALL things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
    Therefore, consider the following: (1) If God created all things including a tortuous hell “for his pleasure,” how, then, can scripture rightly insist that God has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked”? (see Ezek 18:23). (2) If God had created a hell of eternal conscious torture for sinners, be they angels or human beings, it would have violated one of his divine attributes: OMNIPOTENCE, e.g., a God who cannot ultimately ‘overcome evil with good’ (like he commanded his followers to do) cannot rightly claim to be “all-powerful.” (3) If ‘God is Love’ and his love fails to save all his created beings, how, then, can 1 Corinthians 13:8 rightly claim that “Love never fails”? (4) If scripture declares that in the end, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:4), how, then, is it possible for there to continue to be “death, mourning, crying and pain” in a God-created place of torture called hell? (5) If God felt he could finally rest from the work of his finished creation, why, then, do so many Christians find it hard to rest in the finished work of their Creator? C’mon! Let us pull up an easy chair and enjoy our hell-free, done-deal salvation. ~ Ivan A. Rogers // GoodReportMinistries.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: