Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

November 19

Samuel Medley, 1738–1799
How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. (Psalm 36:7)
A Christian should never lose his reason for singing about the Lord and His constant loving kindness. “His praise should continually be in our mouths” (Psalm 34:1). Loving kindness has been described as “love in action.” God’s loving kindness was the act of sending Christ to be our Redeemer “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).
Samuel Medley, a Baptist minister, lived a dissipated life in the British Navy until he was severely wounded in a sea fight between the French and English in 1759, off Cape Lagos, Portugal. While convalescing, he read a sermon by Isaac Watts on Isaiah 42:6, 7. These verses ultimately led to Medley’s conversion and later to his becoming a minister of the gospel. “His Loving Kindness” was written as a personal testimony of thanksgiving to God. The text first appeared in published form in 1782. For 27 years Samuel Medley pastored the Baptist church in Liverpool with much success, especially as a preacher to the sailors. Medley wrote a large number of hymns but always stated in the preface of his books that his only purpose for writing was to “comfort Christians and to glorify Christ.” It has been said that the underlying purpose of Samuel Medley’s ministry, both in preaching and in hymn writing, was to “humble the pride of man, exalt the grace of God in his own salvation, and promote real holiness in the hearts and lives of believers.”
The sprightly music for this text is an American camp meeting melody in popular use throughout the South before its publication in the 19th century.
God’s loving kindness … “how free,” “how great,” “how good,”—a comfort in death and a source of eternal joy.
Awake, my soul, to joyful lays, and sing thy great Redeemer’s praise; He justly claims a song from thee, His loving kindness, oh, how free!
He saw me ruined by the fall, yet loved me not withstanding all; He saved me from my lost estate, His loving kindness, oh, how great!
When trouble, like a gloomy cloud, has gathered thick and thundered loud, He near my soul has always stood, His loving kindness, oh, how good!
Soon shall we mount and soar away to the bright realms of endless day, and sing, with rapture and surprise, His loving kindness, in the skies.
Refrain: Loving kindness, loving kindness, His loving kindness, oh how free!

    For Today: 2 Samuel 22:3, 4; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 31:21; 36:5–10; 59:10; Isaiah 54:8, 10; Ephesians 2:4–7

Recount your salvation experience; reflect on God’s leading; anticipate the eternal joys of heaven—then sing as you go—

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