The hymn transcriptions in these collections are free downloads (PDF) and can be used for accompanying congregational singing, as well as playing prelude or offertory music. You can also simply play them for your own enjoyment.
Go to the hymn collection and click on the hymn title to view or download the free sheet music.
You are welcome to copy and share these hymns with friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts. Please copy the full page with the website address and the “Used by Permission” notice at the bottom (see Permissions).
This Christiana (for that was her name from the day that she, with her children, betook themselves to a pilgrim’s life), after her husband was gone over the river, and she could hear of him no more, her thoughts began to work in her mind.
First, for that she had lost her husband, and for that the loving bond of that relation was utterly broken between them; for you know, said he to me, nature can do no less but entertain the living with many a heavy cogitation in the remembrance of the loss of loving relations.
This, therefore, of her husband did cost her many a tear. But this was not all; for Christiana did also begin to consider with herself, whether her unbecoming behavior towards her husband was not one cause that she saw him no more, and that in such sort he was taken away from her.
And upon this, came into her mind by swarms, all her unkind, unnatural, and ungodly carriages to her dear friend, which also clogged her conscience, and did load her with guilt.
She was, moreover, much broken with calling to remembrance the restless groans, brinish tears, and self-bemoanings of her husband; and how she did harden her heart against all his entreaties and loving persuasions, of her and her sons, to go with him; yea, there was not anything that Christian either said to her, or did before her, all the while that his burden did hang on his back, but it returned upon her like a flash of lightning, and rent her heart in sunder. Specially, that bitter outcry of his, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ did ring in her ears most dolefully.
Then said she to her children, “Sons, we are all undone. I have sinned away your father, and he is gone; he would have had us with him, but I would not go myself. I also have hindered you of life.” With that the boys fell all into tears, and cried out to go after their father. “Oh,” said Christiana, “that it had been but our lot to go with him; then had it fared well with us beyond what it is like to do now! For though I formerly foolishly imagined concerning the troubles of your father, that they proceeded of a foolish fancy that he had, or for that he was overrun with melancholy humors; yet now it will not out of my mind, but that they sprang from another cause, to wit, for that the Light of life was given him; by the help of which, as I perceive, he has escaped the snares of death.”
Then they all wept again, and cried out, “Oh, woe worth the day!”
Notes and Commentary
Mr. Sagacity’s account of Christiana’s story begins with a salient turn of fortune. In Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress, when Christian spoke of his wife and children, it was with a broken heart. At House Beautiful he shared with Charity his attempts to convince his family to flee Destruction and go with him on his journey. But, he lamented, “my wife was afraid of losing this world, and my children were given to the foolish delights of youth.” Now, following Christian’s death, as Christiana remembers her husband, it is likewise with a broken heart. Though she “did harden her heart against all his entreaties and loving persuasions,” all that he did and said has “returned upon her like a flash of lightning, and rent her heart in sunder [i.e. laid bare her heart].” She had refused to leave the City of Destruction, yet now she betakes (commits) to embark on a “pilgrim’s life.”
But pray, sir, while it is fresh in my mind, do you hear anything of his wife and children? Poor hearts! I wonder in my mind what they do.
Sagacity: Who? Christiana and her sons! They are like to do as well as did Christian himself; for though they all played the fool at the first, and would by no means be persuaded by either the tears or entreaties of Christian, yet second thoughts have wrought wonderfully with them; so they have packed up, and are also gone after him.
“Better and better,” said I. “But what! Wife and children and all?”
Sagacity: ‘Tis true. I can give you an account of the matter; for I was upon the spot at the instant, and was thoroughly acquainted with the whole affair.
“Then,” said I, “a man, it seems, may report it for a truth?”
Sagacity: You need not fear to affirm it. I mean, that they are all gone on pilgrimage, both the good woman and her four boys; and being we are, as I perceive, going some considerable way together, I will give you an account of the whole of the matter.
Notes and Commentary
The conversation between Bunyan and Mr. Sagacity now turns to Christian’s family. Perhaps the most perplexing question left unanswered in Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress is: What became of Christian’s wife and children who remained behind in the City of Destruction?
“Well, sir,” I said, “then I perceive you to be a well-meaning man, and so one that takes pleasure to hear and tell of that which is good: pray did you never hear what happened to a man some time ago in this town (whose name was Christian), that went on pilgrimage up towards the higher regions?”
Sagacity: Hear of him! aye, and I also heard of the molestations, troubles, wars, captivities, cries, groans, frights, and fears, that he met with and had in his journey. Besides, I must tell you, all our country rings of him; there are but few houses that have heard of him and his doings, that have sought after and got the records of his pilgrimage. Yea, I think I may say, that his hazardous journey has got a many well-wishers to his ways; for though when he was here he was fool in every man’s mouth, yet now he is gone he is highly commended of all: for ’tis said he lives bravely where he is; yea, many of them that are resolved never to run his hazards, yet have their mouths water at his gains.
“They may,” I said, “well think, if they think anything that is true, that he lives well where he is; for he now lives at and in the fountain of life, and has what he has without labour and sorrow, for there is no grief mixed therewith. But, pray, what talk have the people about him?”
Sagacity: Talk! the people talk strangely about him. Some say that he now walks in white; that he has a chain of gold about his neck; and that he has a crown of gold beset with pearls upon his head: others say that the Shining Ones that sometimes showed themselves to him in his journey are become his companions; and that he is as familiar with them in the place where he is, as here one neighbor is with another.
Besides, ’tis confidently affirmed concerning him, that the King of the place where he is has bestowed upon him already a very rich and pleasant dwelling at court; and that he every day eats and drinks, and walks and talk with him, and receives of the smiles and favors of him that is Judge of all there.
Moreover, it is expected of some, that his Prince, the Lord of that country, will shortly come into these parts, and will know the reason, if they can give any, why his neighbors set so little by him, and had him so much in derision, when they perceived that he would be a pilgrim. For they say, that now he is so in the affections of his Prince, and that his Sovereign is so much concerned with the indignities that were cast upon Christian when he became a pilgrim, that he will look upon all as if done unto himself; and no marvel, for ’twas for the love that he had to his Prince that he ventured as he did.
“I dare say,” I said. “I am glad of it; I am glad for the poor man’s sake. For that now he has rest from his labor; and for that he now reaps the benefit of his tears with joy; and for that he has got beyond the gunshot of his enemies, and is out of the reach of them that hate him.”
I also am glad for that a rumor of these things is noised abroad in this country. Who can tell but that it may work some good effect on some that are left behind!
Notes and Commentary
Bunyan continues his conversation with Mr. Sagacity by asking if he has heard what happened to Christian. Christian was a pilgrim who set out from the City of Destruction to journey to the Celestial City “some time ago” and it is his story that comprises Part 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan hints at the popularity of Part 1 as Mr. Sagacity says of Christian, “all our country rings of him; there are but few houses that have heard of him and his doings, that have sought after and got the records of his pilgrimage.”
News of Christian’s death has spread quickly. When Christian was alive, he was mocked and scorned by many. The citizens of the City of Destruction thought him to be a fool. But now that he has gone on to his reward, “he is highly commended of all.” Even his worst critics and foes speak more kindly of him. The reality of death has stirred the town with somber thoughts: some with hope and longing, others with fear and dread.
Bunyan highlights three important lessons we can learn when confronted with the reality of death.
And as I was in my dream, behold, an aged gentleman came by where I lay; and because he was to go some part of the way that I was traveling, methought I got up and went with him. So as we walked, and as travelers usually do, we fell into discourse; and our talk happened to be about Christian and his travels, for thus I began with the old man:
“Sir,” said I, “what town is that there below, that lies on the left hand of our way?”
Sagacity: Then said Mr. Sagacity—for that was his name: “It is the city of Destruction; a populous place, but possessed with a very ill conditioned and idle sort of people.”
“I thought that was that city,” I said; “I went once myself through that town, and therefore know that this report you give of it is true.”
Sagacity: Too true; I wish I could speak truth in speaking better of them that dwell therein.
Notes and Commentary
As Bunyan begins to dream, he meets a fellow traveler named Mr. Sagacity. Since they are traveling the same direction, Bunyan walks with him and engages him in conversation. Their “talk happened to be about Christian and his travels.”
Mr. Sagacity represents the wisdom we need to walk through this world. Someone who is sagacious has clarity of thought, soundness of mind, and acute perception. A sage (from the Greek sophos) is known and revered for being wise. Unlike Worldly Wiseman, who offered Christian ungodly counsel in Part 1, Mr. Sagacity brings true wisdom that comes from God.
COURTEOUS companions, some time since, to tell you my dream that I had of Christian the pilgrim, and of his dangerous journey towards the Celestial Country, was pleasant to me, and profitable to you. I told you then also what I saw concerning his wife and children, and how unwilling they were to go with him on pilgrimage: insomuch that he was forced to go on his progress without them; for he durst not run the danger of that destruction which he feared would come by staying with them in the city of Destruction: wherefore, as I then showed you, he left them and departed.
Now it hath so happened, through the multiplicity of business, that I have been much hindered and kept back from my wonted travels into those parts whence he went, and so could not till now obtain an opportunity to make further inquiry after whom he left behind, that I might give you an account of them. But having had some concerns that way of late, I went down again thitherward. Now, having taken up my lodgings in a wood about a mile off the place, as I slept I dreamed again.
Notes and Commentary
John Bunyan begins Part 2 of The Pilgrim’s Progress in a similar way to Part 1. He tells his story “in the similitude of a dream.” As the story opens we learn that it has been “some time since” Bunyan related his first dream “of Christian the pilgrim and of his dangerous journey toward the Celestial Country.”
Bunyan began writing Part 1 while he was imprisoned for his faith. When laws were enacted in his day by the king of England that hindered the preaching of the gospel, Bunyan continued to preach and teach. He was jailed in 1660 for being a non-conformist and spent the next 12 years in prison. While he was in prison, he continued serving the church through his writing. He wrote an autobiography called Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, where he shared his own story of how God had rescued him from his sin and eventually called him to gospel ministry. He also began shaping his experience into an allegory that would later develop into ThePilgrim’s Progress.
When Bunyan was released in 1672, he set his writing aside while he resumed his pastoral ministry to his church. But in God’s providence, his freedom was short-lived. He was imprisoned again in 1675 in a prison known in his town of Bedford as the Den where he completed ThePilgrim’s Progress (Part 1). The allegory was published soon after his second release in 1678.
Following Bunyan’s second release, he returned to his home in the village of Elstow in Bedfordshire, “about a mile off” (south of) Bedford and the jail where he had been imprisoned. It was here, in his “lodgings in a wood” where he wrote “The Second Part.” Part 2 tells the story of Christian’s wife, Christiana, and their children, as they make their way from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. It was published in 1684, “some time since” (about six years after) he published Part 1. Bunyan died in 1688 and never wrote a Part 3.
So why did Bunyan write a sequel?
Some of the reasons are the same reasons that compel authors in our day to write a sequel.
1. Bunyan was a popular preacher and author.
During the years he was first imprisoned (1660–1672), he published numerous pamphlets and five books, including Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. He became very well known, especially in his willingness to suffer for the cause of Christ.
When The Pilgrims Progress was published in 1678, it was instantly popular. A second edition was published the same year. A third edition followed in 1679 and two more in 1680. At the time of Bunyan’s death the book has gone through 13 editions, selling over 100,000 copies. It became the most widely read book in the English language apart from the Bible. It and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs could be found in most homes. Bunyan went on to write at least 60 books.
2. Many were counterfeiting Bunyan’s work and writing their own continuations.
Bunyan was a popular author and so there was a demand for more. Some tried to profit from Bunyan’s success and write their own versions and sequels to The Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan refers to these in his introductory poem to Part 2:
“‘Tis true, some have, of late, to counterfeit My Pilgrim, to their own my title set; Yea, others half my name, and title too, Have stitched to their books, to make them do.”
“But yet they, by their features, do declare Themselves not mine to be, whose’er they are. If such thou meet’st with, then thine only way Before them all, is, to say out thy say”
These counterfeit works proved to be inferior, both in their prose and theology. Bunyan desired to set the record straight by writing his own sequel.
3. Bunyan had more that he wanted to say.
His first idea for a sequel was published in 1680. It was called: The Life and Death of Mr. Badman; Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive. It was written as a companion book to The Pilgrim’s Progress to show the end of those who remained in their sin at death.
The book was good, but it was never received as “the sequel.” It went a different direction and left some important questions unanswered. The questions that Bunyan’s readers wanted him to address were: What happened to Christian’s family? What about his wife and his four sons who stayed behind in the City of Destruction? Did they perish? Did they escape! Tell us more!
As Bunyan gained more readers and critics, their unanswered questions and criticisms compelled him to write the real sequel to the story. For Part 2 he had three main goals in mind as a writer and pastor.
1. Emphasize the importance of the family and bringing the gospel to our children. Part 1 focused more on the experience of the individual soul in salvation and sanctification.
2. Emphasize the importance of the church and how the family serves in and benefits from the ministry of a local church. Bunyan highlighted the significance of the church in Part 1 with Palace Beautiful (for the new believer) and the Delectable Mountains (for the more mature believer). In Part 2 he focuses on the journeying together in the fellowship of the church.
3. Emphasize more the joys and comforts of gospel. Some of Bunyan’s critics thought he focused too much on the dangers and warnings of Christian’s “dangerous journey” in Part 1. They argued that it was too dark and too filled with peril. In Part 2 Bunyan highlights more of the help and encouragement God gives us on the journey, especially as we journey together and benefit from the ministry of the church.
I invite you to read through Part 2 of The Pilgrim’s Progress with me as I offer my thoughts and commentary along the way. If you enjoyed Part 1, you will find Part 2 just as rich and profitable. These posts will seek to draw out a small portion of Bunyan’s insights and hopefully encourage you to search after more.
This 18th century hymn by Gerhard Tersteegen is a timely reminder that God is the One who rules over heaven and earth. Even in days that seem tumultuous and uncertain, God is at work accomplishing His sovereign purposes. He is the One who holds the king’s heart and “turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1). When God humbled the proud king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar glorified God and confessed:
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Daniel 4:34–35)
The hymn is a humble prayer addressed to God. It’s not a request that we would simply recognize God’s authority or rightly understand His sovereign right to rule. Rather, it is an entreaty that we would readily and willingly submit to God’s authority and rejoice in His conquest. Today is indeed a season of grace. May our heart’s desire resonant with the words of this hymn:
“Come Thou King of glory, come, Deign to make my heart Thy home.”
The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! (Psalm 110:1–2)
Conquering Prince and Lord of Glory
Conquering Prince and Lord of glory, Majesty enthroned in light; All the heavens are bowed before Thee, Far beyond them spreads Thy might; Shall not I fall at Thy feet, And my heart with rapture beat, Now Thy glory is displayed, Thine ere yet the worlds were made?
As I watch Thee far ascending To the right hand of the throne, See the host before Thee bending, Praising Thee in sweetest tone; Shall not I too at Thy feet Here the angels’ strain repeat, And rejoice that heaven doth ring With the triumph of my King?
Power and Spirit are o’erflowing, On me also be they poured; Every hindrance overthrowing, Make Thy foes Thy footstool, Lord! Yea, let earth’s remotest end To Thy righteous scepter bend, Make Thy way before Thee plain, O’er all hearts and spirits reign.
Lo! Thy presence now is filling All the church in every place; Fill my heart too; make me willing In this season of Thy grace; Come Thou King of glory, come, Deign to make my heart Thy home, There abide and rule alone, As upon Thy heavenly throne!
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Today marks a new beginning—New Year’s Day. All around the world people are bringing in the New Year with hopes and prayers—celebrations and resolutions. The day is a significant and yearly milestone that allows us the opportunity to stop, look back, and reassess where we have been, as well as look forward and anticipate what lies ahead. It is a special day on the calendar that closes one chapter and opens the next.
But why do we observe such days? Why do we pay so much attention to the passing of time: days and months and years—anniversaries and birthdays—celebrations and holidays?
Our lives are driven by time. We are ever chasing after time, running out of time, and filling up time. Our days are mapped out with schedules, appointments, and deadlines. But how should we, as followers of Christ, concern ourselves with time? Does God’s Word have anything to say about how we spend our days and months and years?
God, as we shall see, has much to say about time.
God Himself is concerned with time. He created it and ordained it for His purposes. He appoints time and works in time, for His own glory and for our good. And He is intent that we pay attention to time and use it wisely in ways that honor Him and serve His Kingdom.
Ecclesiastes 3 begins: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
In God’s design, everything in His creation, every matter under heaven—all things existing under His rule and authority—has been given a time. And that includes us. We are here for a purpose—living in this place, at this time, here in this day.
So why did God create time? What purpose does it serve in His creation? How does it do us good and bring Him glory?
In this study I want to look briefly at how time serves both God and man in God’s creation.
God created time for our good and for His own glory.
I have three main points—three ways in which time serves God to make Him known, and serves us, to help us know God in His attributes and works.
I. Time displays the sovereignty of God and the subjection of man.
II. Time displays the eternality of God and the frailty of man.
III. Time displays the mercy of God and the need of man.
“Wherein is set forth the manner of the setting out of Christian’s wife and children, and safe arrival at the desired country.”
Coming February 2021
Those who know me well and those who follow my blog know that my favorite book apart from the Bible is The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. I have read and taught Bunyan’s allegory many times. On May 21, 2013 I began publishing my commentary online: A Guide to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. The commentary for Part 1 was completed on July 8, 2019. I’m grateful for all who have used and benefited from my online notes, especially those who have taken time to send comments and encouragements. Since completing Part 1, many have asked about continuing the commentary with Part 2.
Please join me this coming year in following the story of Christian’s wife, Christiana, and their children, as they make their way from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Follow my blog (or “Ken Puls Music” on Facebook) to keep up with their journey.
There are many well-matched hymn tunes and texts in the treasure trove of hymnody. A well-matched tune not only fits the poetic meter of the text, it helps to undergird, emotionally interpret, and express the meaning of the text. Crafting or finding music that aptly conveys and strengthens the message of the lyrics is called text painting. Examples of hymn tunes that beautifully paint the text include:
“Holy, Holy, Holy” by Reginald Heber (1783–1826) Set to the tune NICAEA by John B. Dykes, 1861
This hymn echoes the threefold praise of God’s holiness found in Scripture (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8). It affirms the doctrine: “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.” The motive of the tune accompanies the words “Holy, Holy, Holy.” It consists of a rising arpeggio of the tonic chord: a major triad made up of a root, 3rd, and 5th. It is a musical illustration of the doctrine of the Trinity: 3 notes, one chord.
“How Firm a Foundation” from John Rippon’s Selection of Hymns, 1787 Set to the tune FOUNDATION from John Funk’s Genuine Church Music, 1832
This hymn affirms the certainty of God’s Word. All that God has said and promised will surely come to pass. The tune conveys firmness by emphasizing the structural tones of the major scale. Most of the melody consists of the three notes of the tonic triad (the most stable chord of the key).
“O Sacred Head Now Wounded,” a Medieval Latin poem ascribed to Bernard Clairvaux (1091–1153) Set to the tune PASSION CHORALE by Hans Leo Hassler, 1601, harmonized by J.S. Bach, 1729
Hassler’s tune in minor with Bach’s harmonization captures well the “grief,” “anguish,” and “sorrow” in the text. Bach concludes with a cadence in the relative major, as the hymn expresses both the suffering of Christ on the cross and God’s grace and love that come to us through Christ’s sacrifice.
“Up from the Grave He Arose” (Low in the Grave He Lay) Set to the tune CHRIST AROSE Words and music by Robert Lowry (1826–1866)
Lowry’s hymn celebrating Christ’s resurrection begins with an 8-measure subdued verse (“Low in the grave He lay”) leading into a 12-measure triumphant chorus with dotted rhythms and expanded range. The chorus opens with an ascending arpeggio on the tonic chord interpreting the words “Up from the grave He arose.”
“Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts, 1719 Set to the tune ANTIOCH by Lowell Mason, 1836, based on music by G.F. Handel, 1742
This familiar Christmas hymn proclaims Christ’s incarnation. The tune begins with a descending major scale conveying the text: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” The melody then ascends, returning to the starting note, reaching up with the words: “Let earth receive her King!”
A lesser-known Christmas hymn, whose tune beautifully portrays the text, is “Who Is This So Weak and Helpless.” This hymn begins with the birth of Christ, then points us to His life, suffering, and death on the cross. The first half of each verse focuses on Christ’s humiliation and asks the perplexing question: “Who is this?” The question is tied to the hymn’s motive that begins with the opening notes of the minor scale, rising a minor third from “a” to “c” (from tonic to mediant). The second half of each verses answers the question posed in the first half. We see Christ’s exaltation in stark contrast to His humiliation: “Who is this?” Answer: “Tis the Lord!” “Tis our God!” The motive also begins the second half of each verse, but the notes are raised a third. Now the notes rise from “c” to “e” (a major third), brightening the motive with uplifting wonder.
It seems improbable that the child who “coldly in a manger laid” is “the Lord of all creation.” It seems astounding that “a Man of Sorrows” is indeed “our God, our glorious Savior.” Yet this is the profound mystery of the incarnation.
Below is the full text of the hymn. As you celebrate this Christmas season look from the manger to the cross and marvel at the wondrous way that God has accomplished our salvation.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Who Is This So Weak and Helpless?
“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” (John 1:10).
WHO is this so weak and helpless, Child of lowly Hebrew maid, Rudely in a stable sheltered, Coldly in a manger laid? ‘TIS the Lord of all creation, Who this wondrous path hath trod; He is God from everlasting, And to everlasting God.
WHO is this, a Man of Sorrows, Walking sadly life’s hard way, Homeless, weary, sighing, weeping, Over sin and Satan’s sway? ‘TIS our God, our glorious Savior, Who above the starry sky Now for us a place prepareth, Where no tear can dim the eye.
WHO is this? Behold Him shedding Drops of blood upon the ground! Who is this, despised, rejected, Mocked, insulted, beaten, bound? ‘TIS our God, who gifts and graces On His church now poureth down; Who shall smite in holy vengeance All His foes beneath His throne.
WHO is this that hangeth dying While the rude world scoffs and scorns, Numbered with the malefactors, Torn with nails and crowned with thorns? ‘TIS the God who ever liveth ‘Mid the shining ones on high, In the glorious golden city, Reigning everlastingly.