O! What Mysterious Grace Is This? - Thomas Nichols

Singing is a vital part of the worship of God. We, as believers must take care that we exercise this “fruit of our lips giving praise to his name” in such a way that brings Him the most satisfaction. While this is a subject infrequently discussed in our modern era, it is certainly worthy of our consideration.

From the preface of a volume of poetry printed in the year 1793, we read the thoughts of one, Thomas Nichols on the form of sacred worship through song.

“Among the many duties of religious worship, singing praise to God is plentifully verified in the scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments…  

… But whether the scripture hath left us destitute of any rule for singing, is what now comes under consideration. For a just decision of this matter, observe, that, under the law-dispensation, when the ark was brought from the house of Obed-edom, Hananiah, chief of the Levites, instructed about the song, because he was skillful, I Chronicles 15:22. By this it appears, that they had some rule for singing, otherwise skillful instruction would have been useless. Again, when the foundation of the temple was laid, they praised the Lord: and they sung together by course, Ezra 3:11.

And in the gospel day, we have the example of Paul, to sing with the spirit and with the understanding also, I Corinthians 14:15.
Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

And again, “Singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord,” Ephesians 6:19

Hence I argue, the more melodious the song the more glorious, if it be with a true desire to glorify God, and not to gratify a carnal mind. The former of which should be the ultimate end of our actions, especially in religious worship.”

Let us not be carried away with the spirit of our age. Let us raise our voices in purer, sweeter melodies in praise to the most high.

“O! What Mysterious Grace Is This?” Thomas Nichols, 18th century.

  The bright and shining heav’nly host,
Unitedly agree:
To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
They all submissive be.
They constantly engaged be,
In what God doth allow;
But saints upon the highest key,
Will make the lowest bow.
They sing redeeming grace and love;
From what they feel and know,
Which angels, that high rank above,
Desire to look into.
O! what mysterious grace is this?
How should we it admire?
Which angels in the realms of bliss,
To view so much desire.




Nichols, T. and Backus, I., 1793. Hymns and Anthems: Composed on Divine Subjects, Agreeable to Sacred Scripture. Albany: Printed--for the author, by Charles R. & George Webster.


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