“MY LORD, MY TRUTH, MY WAY”

Wayne S. Walker

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…” (Jn. 14.6)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which presents Jesus as the truth and the way is “My
Lord, My Truth, My Way” (#207 in “Hymns for Worship Revised”).  The text
is usually attributed to Charles Wesley (1707-1778).  Actually, it first
appeared, perhaps as early as 1737, anonymously in A Collection of Hymns,
for the Use of the People Called Methodists, edited by his brother John
Wesley (1703-1791).  However, it was also found in Charles’s Hymns and
Sacred Poems of 1749 and so is generally considered to have been produced
by him.  Originally entitled “For Believers” with seven eight-line
stanzas, it began “Jesus, My Truth, My Way.”  Most of our books have used
an altered version which contains Wesley’s stanza one as stanzas one and
two and the first half of Wesley’s stanza five as stanza three.

     The tune (Ferguson or Kingsley) was composed by George Kingsley, who
was born at Northampton, MA, in 1811, and became a self taught musician.
Serving as music director first for the Old South Church in Boston, MA,
and then for the Hollis St. Church, also in Boston, he later taught music
at Girard College in Philadelphia, PA, and was supervisor of music for
the Philadelphia public schools.  This melody is usually dated 1843 and
was probably first published in Ferguson’s The Harp of David of 1844.  It
originally seems to have been joined with Samuel Francis Smith’s 1832
baptismal song, “Down to the Sacred Wave.”  It has also been used for an
1863 hymn, “Dear Lord and Master Mine,” by Thomas H. Gill (1819-1906).

     Kingsley also arranged as a hymn tune a melody (Messiah) by French
opera composer Louis Joseph Ferdinand Herold (1791-1833).  He published
it in The Sacred Choir of 1839 with the well-known hymn “Rock of Ages” by
Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1788).  It is sometimes used now with the
hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” by Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879).
  Many of Kingsley’s hymn tunes were published in Charles Everest’s 1873
Sabbath.  Kingsley died in Northampton on Mar. 13, 1884.  His music was
first joined with Wesley’s words in the Methodist Hymnal of 1927.  This
song has been found in Christian Hymns No. 2, Christian Hymns No. 3, and
Abiding Hymns.  In addition to Hymns for Worship, it is found in Great
Songs Revised.

      The song contains both praise to Christ as our Lord and a request
for His help in life.

I. Stanza 1 praises Christ as our sure, unerring Light
“My Lord, my Truth, my Way, My sure, unerring Light,
On Thee my feeble steps I stay, Which Thou wilt guide aright.”
  A. Jesus is the truth which makes us free: Jn. 8.32
  B. He is the narrow way that leads to everlasting life: Matt. 7.13-14
  C. And He is the light which will guide us from earth to heaven: Jn.
8.12

II. Stanza 2 praises Christ as our wisdom and asks that He direct our
paths
“My Wisdom and my Guide, My Counsellor Thou art;
O never let me leave Thy side, Or from Thy paths depart.”
  A. Jesus is the wisdom that comes to us from God: 1 Cor. 1.30
  B. Thus, we can look to Him as our counsellor: Isa. 9.6-7
  C. As we follow His counsel, He will help us never leave His side nor
depart from His paths: Prov. 5.7

III. Stanza 3 praises Christ as the Lamb who bled for us
“I lift my eyes to Thee, Thou gracious, bleeding Lamb,
That I may now enlightened be, And never put to shame.”
  A. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world: Jn.
1.29
  B. It is only through Him that the eyes of our understanding can be
enlightened: Eph. 1.18
  C. And when we lift our eyes to Him, we shall never be put to shame: Ps.
119.31

IV. Stanza 4 praises Christ for His redeeming love
“Never will I remove Out of Thy hands my cause;
But rest in Thy redeeming love, And hang upon Thy cross.”
  A. We can always look to Christ to maintain our cause: Ps. 9.4
  B. This is because of His redeeming love for us: Eph. 1.7
  C. Thus, we hang upon His cross in the sense of clinging to what it
stands for: 1 Cor. 1.18

V. Stanza 5 asks Christ to be our Teacher so that we might be happy here
and have eternal life.
“Teach me the happy art In all things to depend
On Thee: O never, Lord, depart, But love me to the end!”
  A. Only Jesus can teach us God’s will, so we needto look to Him and
respect His teachings as from one who has authority: Matt. 7.28-29
  B. One thing that He teaches us is to depend on Him in all things: Phil.
4.11-13
  C. If we do this, He has promised that He will never depart and that
nothing can separate us from His love to the end: Rom. 8.35-39

     CONCL.:  One of the stanzas by Thomas H. Gill can serve as a fitting
conclusion to this hymn:
“Dear Lord and Master mine, Thy happy servant see;
My Conqueror, with what joy divine, Thy captive clings to Thee.”
As I journey through this life toward heaven, I must always look for
guidance to Jesus as “My Lord, My Truth, My Way.”

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