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Fourth Stanza

Then Grace, my Lord, wrought in thy heart a vent

Thy soft soft hand to this hard work did go  (20)

And to the milk white Throne of Justice went 

And entered bond that Grace might overflow

Hence did thy Person to my nature tie

And bleed through human veins to satisfy.

Summary: This stanza turns to the means by which the grace of God was actually conveyed. The paradox and wonder of the Christian Gospel is laid out. The grace of God was provided with his own blood (as Paul puts in Acts 20:28, “the church of God which he obtained with his own blood”). In line 19, the blood comes from a vent in the heart of God. In line 24, that blood was shed through “human veins”. And in a further paradox, this pardon and mercy were obtained from the “Throne of Justice.”


First, note the agent of this work:

Then Grace, my Lord, wrought in thy heart a vent

Thy soft soft hand to this hard work did go  

In line 19, the agent is “grace” – as if it were an actor. In line 20, it is God’s own “hand” (his own agency). Placing “grace” as the primary motivation for this action is foregrounded in Ephesians: 

Ephesians 1:2–10 (AV) 

Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenlyplaces in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:


Ephesians 2:1–8 (AV) 

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in hiskindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Note also the same movement of thought in Ephesians 2 as in Taylor’s poem: I am in rebellion (“Children of disobedience”), but God has shown me grace in Jesus Christ. 

This hard work: Is the death of Christ. The love of God, the grace of God is the motivation; God himself is the actor:

John 10:17–18 (AV)

17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

This work of mercy is done at the Throne of Justice: God’s mercy is not contrary to God’s justice: In forgiving the rebel, God establishes justice. The penalty of sin is fulfilled by Christ.

This then brings us to the couplet:

Hence did thy Person to my nature tie

And bleed through human veins to satisfy.

Two things are present here: Again we come to a paradox of the Incarnation. God fulfills the demands of the Law which were imposed upon human beings by becoming a human being: Thus, the penalty of death was paid by a human being  on behalf of human beings.

And in so doing, the Son “tied” himself to human nature in the person of Jesus (which is of two natures and one person). 

Justice bleeds mercy. God bleeds as a man. Grace is shown to the rebellious. The innocent gives life for the guilty. God is the agent of fulfilling justice and mercy at the same moment. 

Yahweh Elohim in the Old Testament, though just, holy, zealous for his honor, and full of ire against sin, is also gracious, merciful, eager to forgive, and abounding in steadfast love (Exod. 20:5–6; 34:6–7; Deut. 4:31; Ps. 86:15; etc.). In the New Testament God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the God of all grace and mercy (Luke 6:36; 2 Cor. 1:3; 1 Peter 5:10). There is no antithesis between the Father and Christ. As full of love, merciful, and ready to forgive as Christ is, so is the Father. It is his words that Christ speaks, his works he does. The Father is himself the Savior (σωτηρ; Luke 1:47; 1 Tim. 1:1; Titus 3:4–5), the One who in Christ reconciles the world to himself, not counting its trespasses against it (2 Cor. 5:18–19). Christ, therefore, did not first by his work move the Father to love and grace, for the love of the Father is antecedent and comes to manifestation in Christ, who is himself a gift of God’s love (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 8:32; 1 John 4:9–10).

Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 368.


There are two lines which deserve special consideration. First, 

Thy soft soft hand to this hard work did go  

First, the repetition of “soft” slows down the line and creates a contrast with “hard”. The accented words are soft soft hand … hard work … go. We have an extra accent in this line. The emphatic ‘soft’ thus helps to underscore the paradox: 

Next note the  hand … hard work. Hand and hard come on opposite sides of the line pause, which is an element of Anglo-Saxon alliterative poetry: it holds the halfs of the line closely together. Next the “r” of “hard”  is picked up in work. 

The opening of the couplet begins with an accented “Hence.” This draws the conclusion from the proceeding passage. The conclusion is not a logical deduction but rather the working out of this work of grace: To fulfill justice, extend mercy, rescue me, My Lord tied his nature to mine.