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Grace! 'Tis a Charming Sound

Representative Text

1 Grace! 'tis a charming sound
Harmonious to my ear;
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.

2 Grace first contrived the way
To save rebellious man;
And all the steps that grace display
Which drew the wondrous plan.

3 Grace taught my wandering feet
To tread the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet,
While pressing on to God.

4 Grace all the works shall crown,
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.

Source: African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #214

Author: Philip Doddridge

Philip Doddridge (b. London, England, 1702; d. Lisbon, Portugal, 1751) belonged to the Non-conformist Church (not associated with the Church of England). Its members were frequently the focus of discrimination. Offered an education by a rich patron to prepare him for ordination in the Church of England, Doddridge chose instead to remain in the Non-conformist Church. For twenty years he pastored a poor parish in Northampton, where he opened an academy for training Non-conformist ministers and taught most of the subjects himself. Doddridge suffered from tuberculosis, and when Lady Huntington, one of his patrons, offered to finance a trip to Lisbon for his health, he is reputed to have said, "I can as well go to heaven from Lisbon as from Nort… Go to person page >

Text Information


Grace, 'tis a charming sound. P. Doddridge. [Salvation by Grace.] First published in his (posthumous) Hymns, &c, by J. Orton, in 1755, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, as follows:—

"cclxxxvi. Salvation by Grace. Eph. ii. 5.
1. Grace! 'tis a charming Sound,
Harmonious to my Ear!
Heav'n with the Echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.
2. Grace first contriv'd a Way
To save rebellious Man,
And all the Steps that Grace display,
Which drew the wond'rous Plan.
3. Grace taught my wand'ring Feet
To tread the heav'nly Road,
And new Supplies each Hour I meet,
While pressing on to God.
4. Grace all the Work shall crown
Thro' everlasting Days;
It lays in Heav'n the topmost Stone,
And well deserves the Praise."

This text was repeated in J. D. Humphreys's edition of the Hymns, &c., 1839, with the change in stanza i., line 2, of "my ear," to "mine ear."
In his Psalms & Hymns, 1776, A. M. Toplady gave a cento as No. 134 which was thus composed:—
i. Doddridge, stanza i., with line2, "the ear" for "my ear."
ii. Doddridge, stanza ii.
iii. Toplady:—

" Twas grace that wrote my name
In Thy eternal book;
'Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took."

iv. Doddridge, stanza iii., with, in line 1, "forc'd" for “taught."
v. Toplady:—

"Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o'erflow.
'Twas grace which kept me to this day,
And will not let me go."

vi. Doddridge, stanza iv.
vii. Toplady:—

"O let Thy grace inspire
My soul with strength divine!
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine."

From the original, or from this cento, all modern versions of the hymn are derived, and their construction can be determined by collation with the texts as given above. The use of the hymn in various forms is very extensive in all English-speaking countries. It is sometimes given as "Grace! 'tis a joyful sound," as in Harland's Church Psalter & Hymnal, No. 282. Doddridge's text, slightly altered, is rendered into Latin as “Gratia, quain dulcis vox nostris auribus ilia!" in R. Bingham's Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Although this tune is widely attributed to Isaac Smith and was published in Smiths Collection of Psalm Tunes, London, ca. 1780, Smith does not claim to be the composer. The tune also appeared in other books of similar or earlier date. Southern Harmony, 1835 attributes the tune to J. Street. - From T…

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[Grace! tis a charming sound] (Sankey)



Instances (1 - 17 of 17)
TextPage Scan

African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #214


Christian Worship (1993) #381

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #284

Original Sacred Harp Denson Revision 1987 Standard Melodies #31a

AudioPage Scan

Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #296

Page Scan

Rejoice Hymns #129


Small Church Music #273


Small Church Music #2434

Page Scan

The A.M.E. Zion Hymnal #276

The Baptist Hymnal #93

The Christian Harmony #50


The Cyber Hymnal #2042

The Sacred Harp #31t


The Sacred Harp #31a

TextPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #462

TextPage Scan

Worship and Service Hymnal #186

Page Scan

Worship Supplement 2000 #778

Include 787 pre-1979 instances
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