Tuesday Hymns: “Great God of Wonders”

Samuel Davies (1723-1761) was the first dissenting minister (he was a Presbyterian) to be licensed to preach the Gospel in the colony of Virginia. He preached to several congregations in Hanover County despite suffering from tuberculosis, and did much to lay the foundation for religious toleration in Virginia. He eventually was elected as the fourth President of the College of New Jersey (he succeeded Jonathan Edwards) in 1759, although, like Edwards, his time there was shortened by his death in 1761 at the age of thirty-seven (The doctors decision to “bleed him” probably was one factor in his early death).

Davies wrote over 100 hymns and his “Great God of Wonders” is our Tuesday Hymn of the Week. Although the tune makes it somewhat difficult to sing, the recurring question of “Who is a pard’ning God like thee? Or who has grace so rich and free?” is in the heart of every Christian who has experienced the pardoning grace of our holy God. On a side note, Patrick Henry claimed that he learned his oratorical skills listening to Davies preach as a boy.

Great God of wonders! All Thy ways
Are matchless, Godlike and divine;
But the fair glories of Thy grace
More Godlike and unrivaled shine,
More Godlike and unrivaled shine.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

In wonder lost, with trembling joy,
We take the pardon of our God:
Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood,
A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

O may this strange, this matchless grace,
This Godlike miracle of love,
Fill the whole earth with grateful praise,
And all th’angelic choirs above,
And all th’angelic choirs above.
Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

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3 Comments

  1. rcottrill said,

    November 21, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Greetings from Wordwise Hymns. Your blog caught my eye because I posted an article on this hymn today. Praise the Lord for His pardoning grace!

  2. Judy gregory said,

    November 20, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    When was the music written for this hymn

    • cliftonr said,

      November 20, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      No one knows for sure. It would have been between the early and mid 1800s generally.


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