Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

September 16

Samuel Medley, 1738–1799
Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. (Psalm 73:25)
The distinctiveness of the Christian faith is that it focuses all of its teachings and emphasis on a single person, Jesus Christ—the God-man. All that we really know about our heavenly Father is learned from this One who lived among us for 33 years.
Some people speak eloquently about the Fatherhood of God yet seldom extol the virtues of Christ. But without a biblical knowledge of Christ and a personal relationship with Him, our understanding of God the Father would be incomplete. The Scriptures teach that Christ was the visible representation of the invisible Godhead (John 14:9).
Samuel Medley served in the British Royal Navy until he was wounded in battle at the age of 21. While recuperating from his injury, he was converted to Christ as he was reading a sermon by Isaac Watts. Soon Medley felt the call of God to the ministry and pastored several Baptist churches, including one in Liverpool, where he was especially successful, particularly in work with young sailors.
This hymn text first appeared in Medley’s hymnal of 1789. It was originally titled “Praise of Jesus,” and it presents a rich picture of our Lord. It extols His matchless worth, unfathomable to the human mind; His redemptive work; His characters and many forms of love; His righteousness; and the fact that He will one day receive us to an eternal heavenly home.
O could I speak the matchless worth, O could I sound the glories forth which in my Savior shine, I’d soar and touch the heav’nly strings, and vie with Gabriel while he sings in notes almost divine, in notes almost divine.
I’d sing the precious blood He spilt, my ransom from the dreadful guilt of sin and wrath divine! I’d sing His glorious righteousness, in which all perfect heav’nly dress my soul shall ever shine, my soul shall ever shine.
I’d sing the characters He bears, and all the forms of love He wears, exalted on His throne: In loftiest songs of sweetest praise, I would to everlasting days make all His glories known, make all His glories known.
Well, the delightful day will come when my dear Lord will bring me home and I shall see His face; then with my Savior, Brother, Friend, a blest eternity I’ll spend, triumphant in His grace, triumphant in His grace.

    For Today: Psalm 73:21–28; Matthew 14:33; 27:54; 28:18; Philippians 2:9–11

Spend a few moments delighting yourself in Christ alone. Then sing as you go—

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