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Ten Thousand Charms

I conduct a small church choir and we're doing an arrangement of the early American hymn "Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy."  The last line in the refrain is, "Oh, there are ten thousand charms."  Does anybody know what the ten thousand charms refers to?  I've asked my choir, my pastor and done a little internet searching and can't find a [good] answer.
 
Thanks,
Justine
Replies (3): Threaded | Chronological
on February 15, 2013 12:35pm
Hi Justine,
 
This is one of my favorite old timey hymns, at least tune-wise.  I did a bit of digging, tried Cyber-Hymnal (!) and there wasn't too much about the text.  Typed in "ten thousand charms meaning" to Google and came up with this Blog post from Southern Gospel Blog.  Hope the link comes through, if not, try southerngospelblog.com
 
They seem to think it means (and this doesn't make sense to me, knowing the hymn as well as I do) some sort of witchcraft.  Maybe others will know some other meaning.
 
 
Marie
on February 16, 2013 6:02am
Hello, Justine.
 
Here are some more comments concerning the line (which appears in The Sacred Harp hymnal in the chorus of "Restoration" (p. 312) rather than in "Come, Ye Sinners...").
 
Along the lines of what Will Fitzgerald (2nd comment down) said, I think the line is an expression of affection for the Lord, possibly coming from Song of Solomon (5:10) imagery:  "My beloved is...the chiefest among ten thousand."  It calls to mind the similar poetic expression, "O for a thousand tongues to sing".
on February 17, 2013 12:51am
Someting like "delights (almost) too many to count". As others have mentioned, in that period (and indeed centuries earlier)  'thousand' was  a common expression for something so good that numbers fail to express it. That blog Marie quoted has my hair standing on end -- it's what happens when somebody with no understanding of the period in which a hymn was written fixates on one particular word and takes off into deep space. 
 
Doreen Simmons
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