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~Oh, Could I Speak the Matchless Worth


       Samuel Medley became a midshipman in 1755, during the Seven Years’ War.  In 1759 he was severely wounded in a battle with the French off Port Lagos. 

       Medley had been brought up to have a high regard for religion, but in the navy he had become dissipated.  As he lay there wounded and expecting that amputation of a limb would be necessary, he spent nearly an entire night in prayers of penitence. In the morning the surgeon, surprised at his improved condition, told him that the limb could be saved.

       In 1767, Medley became pastor of a Baptist church. For twenty-seven years he was pastor of a large church in Liverpool, where he was especially successful  in reaching sailors, since he never forgot that he had been a sailor himself, He filled his sermons with expressions that reached the men of the sea.

       Medley wrote many hymns, most of which were printed on broadsides, or loose sheets of paper, and several volumes of his hymns appeared.  Among the most famous is this hymn, “Oh, could I speak the matchless worth.”

—Adapted from Amos R. Wells



O Could I Speak the Matchless Worth [1]

1           O could I speak the matchless worth,

O could I sound the glories forth,

Which in my Savior shine!

I’d soar and touch the heav’nly string,

And vie with Gabriel while he sings

In notes almost divine,

In notes almost divine.

2           I’d sing the precious blood He spilt,

My ransom from the dreadful guilt

Of sin and wrath divine!

I’d sing His glorious righteousness,

In which all perfect heav’nly dress

My soul shall ever shine,

My soul shall ever shine.

3           I’d sing the character He bears,

And all the forms of love He wears,

Exalted on His throne;

In loftiest songs of sweetest praise,

I would to everlasting days

Make all His glories known,

Make all His glories known.

4           Well, the delightful day will come,

When my dear Lord will bring me home,

And I shall see His face!

Then with my Savior, Brother, Friend,

A blest eternity I’ll spend,

Triumphant in His grace,

Triumphant in His grace.


[1]Eckert, Paul, Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.






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