Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken | John Newton

Glorious things of thee are spoken
Author: John Newton (1779)
Published in 1159 hymnals

This hymn is written on Isaiah 33:20-21, but there are plenty of clear references to other Scriptures, which Newton cited in footnotes, such as Psalm 87 (the first two lines of the hymn are nearly a direct quote of Ps. 87:3) and Isaiah 4:5-6 (which is closely paraphrased in the third stanza). This hymn has been called one of Newton’s finest hymns, and it is certainly one of his most popular, along with “Amazing Grace” and “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds.”



1. Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God;
God, 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 mayst smile at all thy foes.

2. 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 will their thirst assuage?
Grace which like the Lord, the giver, never fails from age to age.

3. Round each habitation hovering, see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering, showing that the Lord is near!
Thus deriving from our banner light by night and shade by day,
safe we feed upon the manna which God gives us when we pray.

4. Blest inhabitants of Zion, washed in our Redeemer’s blood;
Jesus, whom our souls rely on, makes us monarchs, priests to God.
Us, by his great love, he raises, rulers over self to reign,
and as priests his solemn praises we for thankful offering bring.


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