Samuel Davies was an American Presbyterian clergyman. He succeeded Jonathan Edwards as president of what is now Princeton University. He was both a spiritual man, and a man of great intelligence. Of his first name, Davies said, “I am a son of prayer, like my namesake, Samuel the prophet, and my mother called me Samuel, because, she said, ‘I have asked him of the Lord.’” He engaged in evangelistic work in Virginia for many years following his ordination. Traveling by horseback, he preached to thousands, including the slaves of that time. King George II invited him to preach at the royal chapel in London. During his message there, he spoke with great boldness to the king, declaring, “When the lion roars, all the animals in the jungle fall silent. And when the Lord speaks, the kings of the earth shut their mouths!” Samuel Davies died on February 4th, 1761. With some intuitive sense of this, or by the Lord’s leading, he began the year by preaching on a phrase from Jer. 28:16, “This year thou shalt die” (KJV)! Davies wrote a number of hymns. One still found in a number of hymnals is Great God of Wonders.
Great God of wonders! All Thy ways Are matchless, Godlike and divine; But the fair glories of Thy grace More Godlike and unrivaled shine.
Crimes of such horror to forgive, Such guilty, daring worms to spare; This is Thy grand prerogative, And none shall in the honour share.
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.
The Mennonite group in the video clip sings this hymn beautifully. Enjoy!
(2) Today in 1814 – Emily Shirreff Born Emily Anne Eliza Shirreff was the daughter of a rear admiral in the British Navy. Going against the tide of opinion in her day, she was a great promoter of higher education for women. She served in various capacities in this area over the years, including being president of the Froebel Society, whose policies were based on the child-centred education theories of Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852). Shirreff’s only hymn, Gracious Saviour Who Didst Honour, gives us a beautiful prayer for women and for mothers.
Gracious Saviour, who didst honour Womankind as woman’s Son; Very Man, though God begotten, And with God the Father One; Grant our womanhood may be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Jesus, Son of human mother, Bless our motherhood, we pray; Give us grace to lead our children, Draw them to Thee day by day; May our sons and daughters be Dedicated, Lord, to Thee.