~Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
of the Christian hymn-writers has had a history so remarkable as that of
was born in London. His mother was a pious woman, who taught him the
Catechism and many other good things; but she died when the lad was only
six years old.
father was a sea-captain, and took the boy to sea when he was eleven
years old. The young fellow learned to curse and blaspheme, and became
very wild. At one time he was force into the navy, and he became a
midshipman. But he was very restless and he deserted, was caught,
stripped, whipped severely, and degraded to the ranks.
this time he had become a thorough infidel, and was steeped in all kinds
of sin. He fell into the hands of a slave-trade in Africa, and suffered
all manner of hardship there, being continually insulted and almost
starved. After many strange and hazardous adventures he became a
slave-trader himself, and made several voyages to Africa in that
The reading of Thomas À Kempis, the fearful
experiences of a storm at sea in which his ship was almost lost, his
deliverance from a severe fever in Africa, these, and other experiences,
at last awoke in the sinful man the memories of the religion his mother
had taught him. And he turned from his sins with true repentance.
became a minister of the gospel. This was in 1764, when he was
thirty-nine years old. He settled in Olney, England, and there it was
that he formed the beautiful friendship with William Cowper which has
given to the world so many splendid hymns.
Things of Thee are Spoken
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
city of our God!
whose word cannot be broken,
thee for his own abode:
the Rock of Ages founded
can shake thy sure repose?
salvation’s walls surrounded,
may’st smile at all thy foes.
See, the streams of living waters
from eternal love,
supply thy sons and daughters,
all fear of want remove:
can faint, while such a river
flows their thirst t’assauge?
which, like the Lord, the giver,
fails from age to age.
Round each habitation hovering,
the cloud and fire appear!
a glory and a covering,
that the Lord is near:
deriving from their banner
by night, and shade by day;
they feed upon the manna,
he gives them when they pray.
Blest inhabitants of Sion,
in the Redeemer’s blood!
whom their souls rely on,
them kings and priests to God.
his love his people raises
self to reign as kings:
as priests, his solemn praises
for a thank-offering brings.
Paul, Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos
Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.