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12 August 2018

Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know

Words by Johann C. Schwedler
Music by H.A. Cesar Malan
Harmony by Lowell Mason
Tune name: HENDON

Two rather unorthodox preachers are responsible for the tune and text of this Hymn.

Schwedler (1672-1730) was unorthodox in his preaching. He often held worship services from six in the morning until two or three in the afternoon, preaching to relays of worshippers throughout the day who in succession filled the church in Niederwise.

He wrote more than 500 hymns whose principal themes were the Grace of God through Christ and the joyful confidence given to believers in Christ.

Abraham Cesar Malan (1787- 1864) was unorthodox in where he preached. His fervent evangelical style was popular but his sermons’ stinging criticism of the spiritual apathy and empty rituals of the Reformed Church were not. He was forced to resign. So he built a chapel in his own garden and preached there for 43 years.

Malan wrote more than 1,000 hymns and set tunes to each of them -- a remarkable feat.

“Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know” was first published in an American hymnal in 1869. It did not enter a Methodist hymnal, however, until 1935. For an unusual effect sing this hymn antiphonally where the repeated refrain “Jesus Christ the crucified” is sung as a choral or congregational response to a solo voice asking the questions of each stanza.

Make the words of this hymn your own question and your own proclamation today:

1. Ask ye what great thing I know, 
that delights and stirs me so? 
What the high reward I win? 
Whose the name I glory in? 
Jesus Christ, the crucified.
2. Who defeats my fiercest foes? 
Who consoles my saddest woes? 
Who revives my fainting heart, 
healing all its hidden smart? 
Jesus Christ, the crucified.
3. Who is life in life to me? 
Who the death of death will be? 
Who will place me on his right, 
with the countless hosts of light? 
Jesus Christ, the crucified.
4. This is that great thing I know; 
this delights and stirs me so: 
faith in him who died to save, 
him who triumphed o'er the grave: 
Jesus Christ, the crucified.

God Bless You!

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