Sovereign Grace O’er Sin Abounding

| October 20, 2015

Among the many choice hymns included in William Gadsby’s A Selection of Hymns for Public Worship (1814, 1838) is “Sovereign Grace O’er Sin Abounding” by John Kent.

John Kent (1766–1843) was an English hymn writer and a contemporary of William Gadsby. Kent was from a poor family and with limited opportunities for education, was largely self-taught. Unlike many of the notable contributors to Gadsby’s hymnal who were pastors (such as John Newton, Isaac Watts and Gadsby himself), John Kent labored in a secular vocation. He learned the trade of shipbuilding from his father and worked most of his life at the Plymouth Dockyards in Devonshire. His trade proved a blessing as it gave him opportunity to meditate on God’s Word as he worked with his hands. Throughout his life he was diligent in his study of Scripture and devout in his love to Christ. His hymns reflect his rich knowledge and familiarity with the Bible; 51 of his hymns are included in Gadsby’s hymnal. Below are the words to “Sovereign Grace O’er Sin Abounding” along with Scripture verses referenced in the hymn.

Sovereign Grace O’er Sin Abounding

“… but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).

1. Sovereign grace o’er sin abounding (Romans 5:20; Ephesians 1:7-8)

Ransomed souls, the tidings swell

Tis a deep that knows no sounding (Romans 11:33)

Who its breadth or length can tell? (Ephesians 3:18-19)

On its glories

On its glories

Let my soul forever dwell

2. What from Christ that soul shall sever (Romans 8:35-39)

Bound by everlasting bands? (Jeremiah 31:3)

One in Him, in Him forever (Ephesians 4:1-6)

Thus th’ eternal cov’nant stands (Hebrews 13:20-21)

None shall pluck thee (John 10:28)

None shall pluck thee

From the Strength of Israel’s hands (1 Samuel 15:29)

3. Heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17)

Long ere time its race begun

To His name eternal praises (Psalm 145:2)

O what wonders He hath done!

One with Jesus

One with Jesus

By eternal union one

4. On such love, my soul still ponder

Love so great, so rich and free (Ephesians 2:4)

Say while lost in holy wonder

“Why, O Lord, such love to me?” (2 Samuel 7:18)

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

Grace shall reign eternally.

“Sovereign Grace O’er Sin Abounding”

Words by John Kent (1766-1843)

Music by Tom Wells, 2000

Words ©Public Domain

Music ©2000 Tom Wells (Used by Permission)

Tom Wells (Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas) composed the tune for this hymn. Download free sheet music (PDF), including a guitar chord chart, an arrangement of the hymn tune STOCKSTILL for classical guitar, and an arrangement for the tune for instrumental ensemble.

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