Davies, Samuel


b nr Summit Ridge, Newcastle Co, Delaware, USA 1723 (or 1726?), d Princeton, NJ, USA 1761. Educated privately under the guidance of Samuel Blair, a clergyman from Chester Co, Pennsylvania. As a young man he received some financial help intended for a visiting Presbyterian preacher, Wm Robinson of New Brunswick, who declined the gift but passed it on to Samuel for his theological training. In 1745 he was licensed by the Presbytery of Newcastle (Delaware) as a probationer to serve congregations in Virginia, and ordained in 1748. He visited England in 1753 on behalf of the New Jersey Presbyterian College at Princeton (now the Univ of Princeton), where he later succeeded Jonathan Edwards as President and hence was known even in hymn-books as ‘President Davies’, but where he died a few years later at the age of 37. Thomas Gibbons, biographer of Isaac Watts, printed Davies’ sermons posthumously in 5 volumes. He also included 16 of his hymns (probably the complete list) in Hymns Adapted to Divine Worship (1769). The text included in Praise! has proved durable, in its original or revised form; around 1900 it featured in over 100 hymn-books in the UK alone, and remains a world-wide evangelical favourite. His other hymns, many of them solemn (including one about our Prophet, Priest and King: Jesus, how precious is thy name), continued to be sung well into the 19th c but have not lasted beyond it; ‘solid, but somewhat dry and heavy’, was the verdict of the American Prof F M Bird in Julian. No.246.

Hymns and songs by Davies, Samuel

Number Hymn Name
246 Great God of wonders, all your ways