November 3: Rev. Samuel Davies

The Prayers of a Pious Mother

If this devotional began with a simple question, namely, to identify the greatest preacher ever produced in this land of America,   this writer is sure that he would receive a bevy of names, both from colonial days as well as modern times. The reader might be quick to offer the name of  your particular pastor, the one you hear every Lord’s Day. Or maybe it would be some preacher from your past, whom you consider the greatest expositor of the Word to your heart.

As famous as the great English pastor, Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, was, he was convinced that we Americans did not even know that the most eloquent preacher the American continent ever produced was Samuel Davies.  Some of you might respond with a “Who is Samuel Davies” question. But for the regular readers of this historical devotional, having made reference to Samuel Davies on April 14, July 6, July 25, and October 3,  he was the Apostle of Virginia. And it was on this day of November 3, 1723 that he was born near New Castle, Delaware.

His parents were deeply religious, both of Welsh descent. They were members of the Pancader Presbyterian Church in Delaware. Especially his mother was to make a deep spiritual impression on young Samuel.  Afterward he commented that he was a son of prayer, just as the biblical Samuel was a son of prayer. Further, he acknowledged that everything he accomplished for the Savior in his life and ministry, he looked upon as immediate answers to the prayers of a pious mother.

It was in his early teens that Samuel had a clear assurance of justification by faith.  He then joined the Presbyterian Church.  Educated at the famous Faggs Manor Presbyterian classical and theological school in Cochrinville, Pennsylvania, he received his spiritual marching orders to become the Apostle of Virginia in bringing the gospel to this part of the new world.

Words to live by: There is a general  promise in Proverbs 22:6 for parents to “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV)  Dads, Moms, are you praying for a son or a daughter who is now in the process of turning away from the faith of his or her parents?  Many are the sorrows of such an experience.  Our hearts grieve with you. We encourage you to continue to pray and by your example and exhortation (when the Lord presents an open door) to continue  to claim Proverbs 22:6.  Many have come back to Christ at a time of trouble or temptation. Be there when they do and give thanks to the God of providence at that time.

Our good friend, the Rev. Vaughn Hathaway, has reminded us this morning of the hymn “Great God of Wonders,” the words of which were composed by Samuel Davies. This hymn is included in the revised edition of the Trinity Hymnal as hymn #82. You can also listen to it here. There is also an Indelible Grace tune for the same lyrics, here.

1 Great God of wonders! all thy ways
are matchless, godlike and divine;
but the fair glories of thy grace
more godlike and unrivaled shine,
more godlike and unrivaled shine.

Who is a pard’ning God like thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

2 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,
a pardon bought with Jesus’ blood. [Refrain]

3 O may this strange, this matchless grace,
this God-like miracle of love,
fill the whole earth with grateful praise,
and all th’angelic choirs above,
and all th’angelic choirs above. [Refrain]


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