Hast Thou Heard Him, Seen Him, Known Him?
1. Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand own Him,
Joyful choose the better part.
Chorus: Captivated by His beauty, Worthy tribute haste to bring.
Let His peerless worth constrain thee, Crown Him now unrivaled King.
2. What can strip the seeming beauty,
From the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty,
But the sight of peerless worth.
3. 'Tis that look that melted Peter,
’Tis that face that Stephen saw,
'Tis that heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw.
©2010 Joel Littlepage Music
Some of the hymn retunes on Indelible Grace CDs are many years in the making. This is a good example. I first heard this text when Matthew Perryman Jones showed it me many years ago. He actually wrote a tune to it before he moved to Nashville and I have a demo of that version from the early 2000s. But the tune wasn’t really very congregational and so I’ve kept the text hoping for a new tune for years. In the meantime I regularly would use this text with the traditional tune for “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus.” I actually wrote the tune used for “For The Bread” on IG6 for this text originally! But still didn’t feel it captured the text as I hoped. Then Joel Littlepage came up with this tune and it became a real favorite of our Belmont RUF group over the last several years. I was really glad that Morgan Bennett (Belmont RUF alum now in Law School) was able to fly back to Nashville to sing this one for us and I love the background vocals that Hannah Boren (current Belmont student) did for this one too.
This text is one of the best I know on the topic of idolatry and the central idea that 19th century Scottish Presbyterian Thomas Chalmers develops in his classic sermon “The Expulsive Power Of A New Affection.”
“What can strip the seeming beauty, From the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty, But the sight of peerless worth.”
It is only as we see the beauty of Jesus that we can be set free from our love for idols. It’s not enough to see what we are to do, we must be captured by a greater beauty than the false gods that vie for our heart’s affection.
'Tis that look that melted Peter, ’Tis that face that Stephen saw,
'Tis that heart that wept with Mary, Can alone from idols draw.”
There is nothing more powerful than seeing the mercy of God expressed in the person of Jesus. As Romans 2:4 teaches us, God’s mercy and kindness is designed to lead to repentance, and in Jesus the mercy and kindness of God appeared (Titus 2:11).