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“Grace, All-conquering and charming”

Jesse Mercer could be described as the leading Baptist in Georgia in the first half of the 19th century. He served as pastor, editor of the state paper, and denominational statesman championing the formation of schools and a mission board. Anthony Chute has written a fine overview of Mercer’s work in A Piety Above the Common Standard. You can see my review of Chute’s book here.

My point here, however, is to highlight his work in poetry, writing and compiling hymns. Mercer produced a popular compilation of American and British hymns entitled The Cluster of Spiritual Songs, Divine Hymns, and Sacred Poems. The following hymn is #5 in the cluster, and I have recorded (from when I borrowed a copy of the Cluster) that Mercer was the author of this hymn.

“Grace, All-conquering and charming”

Legion was my name by nature,
Satan raged within my breast;
Never misery was greater,
Never sinner more posses’d.
Mischievous to all around me,
To myself the greatest foe;
Thus I was, when Jesus found me,
Filled with madness, sin, and woe.

Yet in this forlorn condition,
When he came to set me free,
I reply’d to my Physician,
“What have I to do with thee?”
But he would not be prevented,
Rescued me against my will;
Had he staid till I’d consented,
I had been a captive still.

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