Scripture Verse

O Lord, God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Israel. 1 Chronicles 29:18

Introduction

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Thomas Olivers
1725–1799
National Portrait Gallery

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Words: From the Yig­dal (יִגְדָּל‎) of Da­ni­el ben Ju­dah, a Jew­ish judge in Rome, cir­ca 1400. Pa­ra­phrased by Tho­mas Ol­iv­ers, cir­ca 1765. First pub­lished in The Gos­pel Ma­ga­zine, Ap­ril 1775. The lyr­ics are based on the 13 creeds of Mo­ses Mai­mo­ni­des (cir­ca 1130–1204).

Music: Leo­ni He­brew me­lo­dy, Sac­red Har­mo­ny, 1780 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

  • Covenant (Stain­er) John Stain­er (1840–1901) (🔊 pdf nwc)
  • Harvington A. E. Ket­tle, in the Me­tho­dist Hymn and Tune Book (To­ron­to Ca­na­da: Me­tho­dist Book and Publ­ish­ing House, 1894), num­ber 39 (🔊 pdf nwc)

Origin of the Hymn

One night in Lon­don, [Ol­iv­ers] was at­tract­ed to a ser­vice in a Jew­ish syn­a­gogue, where he heard a great sing­er, Leo­ni, sing an an­cient He­brew me­lo­dy in the sol­emn, plaint­ive mode, and he be­came im­pressed with a de­sire to write a hymn to that tune.

The result was our hymn, The God of Ab­ra­ham Praise, which in a sense is a pa­ra­phrase of the an­cient He­brew Yig­dal, or dox­ol­o­gy, though Ol­iv­ers gave to it a dis­tinct­ly Chris­tian fla­vor.

The sto­ry is told of a young Jew­ess who had been bap­tized in­to the Chris­tian faith, and in con­se­quence was aban­doned by her fa­mi­ly. She fled to the home of the min­is­ter, poured out her heart to him, and as if to show that, af­ter all, her joy in her new-found Sav­iour was great­er than all her loss of home and fa­mi­ly, she sang, The God of Ab­ra­ham Praise.

Price, p. 105

Lyrics

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,
Thro’ 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
Forevermore.

Tho’ na­ture’s strength decay,
And earth and hell with­stand,
To Ca­naan’s bounds I urge my way,
At His com­mand.
The wa­tery deep I pass,
With Je­sus in my view;
And thro’ the howl­ing wil­der­ness
My way pur­sue.

The good­ly land I see,
With peace and plen­ty blessed;
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 crowned.

There dwells the Lord our king,
The Lord our right­eous­ness,
Triumphant o’er the world and sin
The Prince of peace;
On Si­on’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 list­en­ing spheres at­tend,
And swell the grow­ing fame;
And sing, in songs which ne­ver end,
The wond­rous 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 Sav­ior’s face
The ran­somed na­tions bow;
O’erwhelmed at His al­migh­ty grace,
Forever new:
He shows His prints of love—
They kin­dle to a flame!
And sound thro’ 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.