A man was enjoying the freedom found in the wilderness of the young nation of America. He was living any way he wanted to, not having a moral compass, but doing what he wanted, when he wanted, regardless of any harm brought on anyone else. But soon he fell under the convicting power of the Holy Ghost. He was off in Kentucky having a good time when he heard of his own mother’s death. He came under terrifying guilt and grief. He refused to keep a fast that President Adams had requested of the nation on May 9, 1797. This also caused him to come under conviction and a measure of mental anguish. He was a teacher at the time and left his classroom in fear of having his pupils see him weep under such a powerful sense of doom and damnation. This man of letters later happened upon a Methodist circuit riding preacher who tried to give him advice. John Adam Granade then burned his playing cards, cut off the ruffles of his shirt with a pen knife, and cut off his hair (of which he was very proud). He began attending Methodist Class Meetings and sought the leader’s counsel and prayers. He was so distressed as to give up his teaching responsibilities. He wrote of this season of anguish:
“When hills and mountains all are fled,
Where will you hide your guilty head?
O! Wretched man, where will you rove,
You’ve slighted a Redeemer’s love?
Black horror seized my guilty heart,
Thro every vein I felt the smart;
I fell and almost lost my breath
And thought I soon should sink in death.”
To make a long story short, Granade found the powerful saving grace of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and changed his focus from the world we see to the world to come. Here’s his own description of that event:
“That very moment heaven, that I ever thought was forever sealed against me, opened. The glory of the Lord, as a rushing, mighty wind, descended from heaven and filled my whole being. I began to whisper these words: ‘Adoration to God and the Lamb.’ And as I repeated these words, the power increased, the heavens, the earth, and every thing in a moment put on a new aspect. I could keep silence no longer, but cried out, ‘Glory to God! Glory and adoration to God and the Lamb forever!’ Thus streams of glory divine poured in upon me and I went all over the encampment, until midnight, praising Him who had brought me such deliverance.” (Told in Richard A Humphrey’s compilation of the History and Hymns of John Adam Granade, 1991)
Referring to himself as the second Lazarus, Granade’s conversion was a remarkable one. He was described as “the Wild Man” due to his joy and exhortations. His time as a circuit riding preacher was just a few short years, and he located, or retired, to a home in western Tennessee, and died shortly thereafter. But he wrote songs of praise.
One of those songs is of particular interest in the present moment of the life of the United Methodist Church, and as Granade was a Methodist, I leave it hear for your pondering:
[set to the tune “Nettleton” 87.87 D, aka “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”]
John Adam Granade, 1802
1. Let Thy kingdom, blessed Savior,
Come and bid our jarrings cease;
Come, oh Come! And reign forever,
God of love and Prince of Peace!
Visit now poor bleeding Zion!
Hear Thy people mourn and weep!
Day and night, Thy lambs are crying;
Come, Good Shepherd, feed Thy sheep!
2. Some for Paul, some for Apollos,
Some for Cephas; none agree;
Jesus let us hear thee call us;
Help us Lord to follow Thee;
Then we’ll rush thro what encumbers
Over every hindrance leap,
Undismayed by force of numbers;
Come, Good Shepherd, feed thy sheep!
3. Lord in us there is no merit;
We’ve been sinners from our youth;
Guide us, Lord, by Thy Good Spirit,
Which shall teach us all the truth;
On thy gospel word we’ll venture,
Till in death’s cold arms we sleep;
Love our Lord, and Christ, our Savior;
Oh, Good Shepherd, feed thy sheep!
4. Come, good Lord, with courage arm us!
Persecution rages here;
Nothing, Lord, we know can harm us,
While our Shepherd, Christ, is near:
Glory! Glory be to Jesus!
At his name our spirits leap;
He both comforts us and frees us:
The Good Shepherd feeds His sheep.
5. Hear the Prince of our salvation
Saying “Fear not, little flock;
I myself am your foundation;
Ye are built upon this Rock:
Shun the paths of vice and folly:
Scale the mount, altho’ ‘tis steep;
Look to me, and be ye holy!
I delight to feed my sheep!”
6. Christ alone, whose merit saves us
Taught by Him we’ll own His name;
Sweetest of all names is Jesus;
How it doth our souls enflame!
Glory! Glory! Glory! Glory!
Give him glory, He will keep:
He will clear your way before kyou:
The Good Shepherd feeds His sheep.