We have taken the last few weeks off from our memorization work and focused on spending time with family. As we sang our hymn this morning during family devotional, I decided I wanted the words we were singing to be firmly planted in our hearts, to not only be able to sing them, but to be able to say them as well…and to be able to own them as our own personal creed on the doctrine of choice.
I am an ardent advocate of agency. I believe our ability to choose and to learn to choose God is what we are here to learn. I hope that focusing on memorizing these words will aid my children throughout their lives in remembering the foundational principle of choice.
I have only ever known the first four stanzas, but I found the last three today and I think we will try to memorize those ones as well.
Know this, that every soul is free,
To choose his life and what he’ll be;
For this eternal truth is given,
That God will force no man to heaven.
He’ll call, persuade direct him right;,
Bless him with wisdom, love, and light;
In nameless ways be good and kind;
But never force the human mind.
Freedom and reason make us men:
Take these away, what are we then?
Mere animals, and just as well,
The beasts may think of heaven or hell.
May we no more our powers abuse,
But ways of truth and goodness choose;
Our God is pleased when we improve
His grace, and seek his perfect love.
It’s my free will for to believe:
‘Tis God’s free will me to receive:
To stubborn willers this I’ll tell,
It’s all free grace, and all free will.
Those that despise, grow harder still;
Those that adhere, he turns their will:
And thus despisers sink to hell,
While those that hear in glory dwell.
But if we take the downward road,
And make in hell our last abode;
Our God is clear, and we shall know,
We’ve plunged ourselves in endless wo.
By the way, “hell” to me isn’t some place of demons and fire and brimstone, it is a state of being that is without God and without progress…and I do think we choose to live in that state or to live in a way that leads us towards God.