Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

July 25

Samuel Stennett, 1727–1795
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
In this day of the “throwaway” and the temporary, Christians must live according to their belief in eternity. The apostle Paul reminded the believers at Corinth that if their hope in Christ were related only to this life, they would be the most miserable men of all (1 Corinthians 15:17–19). The anticipation of God’s tomorrow makes it possible for Christians to live joyfully today—regardless of life’s circumstances.
He liveth long who liveth well! All other life is short and vain;
He liveth longest who can tell of living most for heavenly gain.
—Horatius Bonar
What Canaan was to God’s chosen people of the Old Testament, the “heavenly places” are to New Testament believers. God has raised us up with Christ so that even now we can sit with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Living in Canaan, our spiritual heavenlies, should be the Christian’s daily experience as well as a foretaste of our eternal glory. We, like the Israelites, must faithfully follow our Leader and foresee and enjoy our possessions now.
Samuel Stennett was one of the most respected and influential preachers among the dissenting or non-conformist groups of his times. He pastored a Baptist church on Little Wild Street in London, England, for an entire lifetime. The tune, “Promised Land,” is one of the many traditional melodies used in the United States during the early part of the 19th century. The hymn was first published in its present form in 1895.
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand and cast a wishful eye to Canaan’s fair and happy land, where my possessions lie.
All o’er those wide extended plains shines one eternal day; where God the Son forever reigns and scatters night away.
No chilling winds nor pois’nous breath can reach that healthful shore; sickness and sorrow, pain and death are felt and feared no more.
When shall I reach that happy place and be forever blest? When shall I see my Father’s face and in His bosom rest?
Chorus: I am bound for the promised land, I am bound for the promised land; O who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land.

    For Today: Numbers 14:7–9; Isaiah 35:10; Revelation 21:1–4

Determine to set your sights and values more strongly on eternity and heavenly gain. Go forth with a buoyancy to your step and this song upon your lips—

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