I LOVE THY KINGDOM, LORD!
Timothy Dwight, 1752–1817
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24, 25)
God honored the tears, prayers, and work of the distinguished president of Yale University, Timothy Dwight, to bring to that campus in 1795 a startling spiritual revival. It soon spread to other nearby universities as well. Prior to his administration, most of the students at Yale and other eastern schools had been infected with the “free thought” of Thomas Paine, Rousseau, and the French Revolution.
Timothy Dwight, grandson of the brilliant and powerful American preacher, Jonathan Edwards, was an unusually successful and distinguished person in many areas. A graduate of Yale University at 17, he was a chaplain in the American Revolution, a Congregational minister, a prosperous farmer, a member of the Connecticut state legislature, a faculty member at Yale and eventually president of the university. Timothy Dwight also wrote a number of scholarly books, authored thirty-three hymn texts, and revised the hymnbook used by New England Congregational and Presbyterian churches for 30 years.
In Dwight’s text, the term kingdom suggests three different levels of Christ’s church:
• The Church Personal— “The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
• The Church Local— individual congregations (Matthew 11:28, 29)
• The Church Universal— believers of every age, race and culture (Revelation 7:9)
The kingdom of God is a living body, not merely an organization. Its purpose is to extend Christ’s influence, build up the members of His body, and glorify His name. The promise of Christ is that nothing, not even the gates of hell, will ever triumph over His Church (Matthew 16:18).
I love Thy kingdom, Lord! The house of Thine abode—The Church our blest Redeemer saved with His own precious blood.
I love Thy Church, O God! Her walls before Thee stand, dear as the apple of Thine eye and graven on Thy hand.
Beyond my highest joy I prize her heav’nly ways—Her sweet communion, solemn vows, her hymns of love and praise.
Sure as Thy truth shall last, to Zion shall be giv’n the brightest glories earth can yield, and brighter bliss of heav’n.
For Today: Matthew 16:15–18; Ephesians 2:19, 21, 22; 5:23–27
Ask yourself if you are as joyful and enthusiastic about Christ’s kingdom and its mission on earth as you should be. Allow this hymn to renew your vision—