Hymn of the week: The God of Abraham praise

Thomas Oliver's last resting place - in John Wesley's grave, City Road

Thomas Oliver's last resting place - in John Wesley's grave, City Road

Sunday’s Old Testament and Epistle readings both refer to the story of Abraham, so it is a good week to sing this stately hymn.

‘The God of Abraham praise’ was written by Thomas Oliver’s, one of John Wesley’s local preachers. Olivers accompanied Wesley on some of his preaching tours and was later appointed in charge of overseeing the publication of the Arminian Magazine, at which he was spectacularly unsuccessful. Held in high regard, after his death in 1799 Olivers was buried in John Wesley’s grave at City Road.

The hymn is a Christian paraphrase of a Jewish hymn which Olivers heard sung by a chorister called Leoni. Most modern hymnbooks offer a selection of the original twelve verses.

The God of Abraham praise,
Who reigns enthroned above;
ancient of everlasting days,
and God of Love;
Jehovah, great I AM!
by earth and Heav’n confessed;
I bow and bless the sacred Name
forever blessed.

The God of Abraham praise,
at Whose supreme command
from earth I rise-and seek the joys
at His right hand;
I all on earth forsake,
its wisdom, fame, and power;
and Him my only Portion make,
my Shield and Tower.

The God of Abraham praise,
Whose all sufficient grace
shall guide me all my happy days,
in all my ways.
He calls a worm His friend,
He calls Himself my God!
And He shall save me to the end,
through Jesus’ blood.

He by Himself has sworn;
I on His oath depend,
I shall, on eagle wings upborne,
to Heav’n ascend.
I shall behold His face;
I shall His power adore,
and sing the wonders of His grace

Though nature’s strength decay,
and earth and hell withstand,
to Canaan’s bounds I urge my way,
at His command.
The wat’ry deep I pass,
with Jesus in my view;
and through the howling wilderness
my way pursue.

The goodly land I see,
with peace and plenty bless’d;
a land of sacred liberty,
and endless rest.
There milk and honey flow,
and oil and wine abound,
and trees of life forever grow
with mercy crown’d.

There dwells the Lord our King,
the Lord our righteousness,
triumphant o’er the world and sin,
the Prince of peace;
on Zion’s sacred height
His kingdom still maintains,
and glorious with His saints in light
forever reigns.

He keeps His own secure,
He guards them by His side,
arrays in garments, white and pure,
His spotless bride:
with streams of sacred bliss,
with groves of living joys-
with all the fruits of Paradise,
He still supplies.

Before the great Three-One
they all exulting stand;
and tell the wonders He hath done,
through all their land:
the list’ning spheres attend,
and swell the growing fame;
and sing, in songs which never end,
the wond’rous Name.

The God Who reigns on high
the great archangels sing,
and “Holy, holy, holy!” cry,
“Almighty King!
Who was, and is, the same,
and evermore shall be:
Jehovah-Father-great I AM,
we worship Thee!”

Before the Saviour’s face
the ransom’d nations bow;
o’erwhelm’d at His almighty grace,
forever new:
He shows His prints of love-
they kindle to a flame!
And sound through all the worlds above
the slaughtered Lamb.

The whole triumphant host
give thanks to God on high;
“Hail, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,”
they ever cry.
Hail, Abraham’s God, and mine!
(I join the heav’nly lays,)
all might and majesty are Thine,
and endless praise.

Thomas Olivers (1725-99) from The Yigdal of Daniel ben Judah (c.1400)


About Holloway Rev

Paul Weary is a Methodist minister living and working in Holloway, North London.
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