And Can It Be

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“And Can It Be” was first published in John Wesley's Psalms and Hymns in 1738, then in Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739. From middle of the nineteenth century on, “And Can It Be” has been set to SAGINA.

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Listen to the beginner piano arrangement of And Can It Be.



Charles Wesley, founder of the movement known as Methodism with his brother, John, was ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1735. However, three years later, the evening of May 21, 1738, reportedly after prolonged Bible reading he wrote:

“At midnight I gave myself to Christ, assured that I was safe, whether sleeping or waking. I had the continual experience of His power to overcome all temptation, and I confessed with joy and surprise that He was able to do exceedingly abundantly for me above what I can ask or think.”

Another writer states that he recorded in his journal:

“I now found myself at peace with God, and rejoiced in hope of loving Christ. I saw that by faith I stood.”

Two days later, his journal reported that he had begun writing a hymn. This hymn was likely “And Can It Be” because of the vivid testimony of stanza four. This hymn and “Where Shall My Wondering Soul Begin” were the first of the 6000 plus hymns that he wrote. Also, it is reported that his brother John sang a hymn to the tune CRUCIFIXION on his own conversion to “vital religion” three days later. Although it was not stated what hymn it was, the Foundery Tune Book, published by John Wesley in 1742, paired “And Can It Be” with CRUCIFIXION.

“And Can It Be” was first published in John Wesley’s Psalms and Hymns in 1738, then in Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739. From middle of the nineteenth century on, “And Can It Be” has been set to SAGINA.

From Songs and Hymns.org