Oh, Can it Be?



The following poem is from the pen of John Newton. This old hymn appears in many older hymnals with various tunes. The words are among my favorite and were on my mind as I drove toward my study this morning. Take time to read them and reflect on their meaning.

– Scott


I saw One hanging on a tree,

In agony and blood,

He fixed His languid eyes on me,

As near His cross I stood.

Sure, never till my latest breath,

Can I forget that look;

It seemed to charge me with his death,

Though not a word He spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt,

And plunged me in despair;

I saw my sins His blood had spilt,

And helped to nail Him there.

Alas, I know not what I did,

But now my tears are vain;

Where can my trembling soul be hid?

For I the Lord have slain.

A second look he gave, which said,

“I freely all forgive;

This blood is for thy ransom paid,

I die that thou may’st live!”

Oh, can it be, upon that tree,

The Savior died for me?

My soul is filled, my heart is thrilled

To think He died for me.

4 thoughts on “Oh, Can it Be?

      • Melissa, I found one example of the song to the tune of Green Hill (Horsley).

        The meter is CM (8686 common meter) so it works with. Many tunes.

        I sang it to the tune Azmon – I’m not ashamed to own my lord. (Glazer / Mason) and to That Dreadful Night (tune Solemn Feast – L. O. Sanderson). I like this last one best so far for the use it sets.

        What can you find?

  1. Maybe we could get the musical types in the family to compose something. I think it should be in minor. Maybe something along the lines of Bach’s “Nicht so traurig, nicht so sehr.” (Why so troubled, [Oh my heart])

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