~* GLORIOUS THINGS OF THEE ARE SPOKEN *~
John Newton, 1725-1807

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:2

Of the many hymn texts by the noted English clergyman, John Newton, this one is generally considered to be one of his finest and most joyous. In the Old Testament, the city of Zion was the place where God dwelt among His people. It was a haven of refuge, a treasured place. In many New Testament passages, "Zion" refers to the "New Jerusalem", the bride, the church--a community of God's people, a living and dynamic organism. Newton's hymn refers to God's strong protection of His people, His promise to supply our needs, and His presence to lead His own by the cloud and fire as He did the Israelites of old.

With all our shortcomings and faults, the local church is still God's means of meeting the needs of mankind. As Christians, we are to promote the church, supporting it with enthusiasm and finding our spiritual strength and fellowship in it. Then as members of Christ's universal church, we are commanded to be His worthy representatives of Him and His Gospel to the entire world. We must be actively involved in ministering the "streams of living waters" which "never fail from age to age".

John Newton, the converted slave trader and sea captain, never stopped praising God for His "sure repose" -- "whose Word cannot be broken" -- Who formed us "for His own abode".



Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, Whose Word cannot be broken,
Formed thee for His own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

See! the streams of living waters,
Springing from eternal love;
Well supply thy sons and daughters,
And all fear of want remove:
Who can faint while such a river
Ever flows their thirst t’assuage?
Grace, which like the Lord, the Giver,
Never fails from age to age.

Round each habitation hovering,
See the cloud and fire appear!
For a glory and a cov’ring
Showing that the Lord is near.
Thus deriving from our banner
Light by night and shade by day;
Safe they feed upon the manna
Which He gives them when they pray.

Blest inhabitants of Zion,
Washed in the Redeemer’s blood!
Jesus, Whom their souls rely on,
Makes them kings and priests to God.
’Tis His love His people raises,
Over self to reign as kings,
And as priests, His solemn praises
Each for a thank offering brings.

Savior, if of Zion’s city,
I through grace a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in Thy Name.
Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show;
Solid joys and lasting treasure
None but Zion’s children know.



*For Today*: Psalm 48:1-3, Psalm 87:3; Isaiah 33:20 & 21; Matthew 16:18; Romans 12:5

Be thankful for your local church and what it means in your life. Ask for God's special blessing on your pastor, the deacons, the teachers, the choir, and all your fellow church members.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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