Baptist pastor Daniel Turner (1710-1798) penned this hymn, called “Excellence of Faith” (or “The Power of Faith). He became pastor of the Baptist church in Reading in 1741, until 1748. From Reading, he went to the Baptist church in Abingdon. Turner remained pastor there until his death, a service of fifty years.
Turner prepared two works of devotional poetry – Divine Songs, Hymns and other Poems in 1747, Poems Devotional and Moral in 1794. This hymn, with three others, was included in A Collection of Hymns Adapted to Public Worship, by John Ash and Caleb Evans in 1769. It also appeared in A Selection of Hymns by John Rippon (1787). Arlington, Azmon, and Evan are good stout tunes for its use. Azmon may be the most common.
And saves me from its snares;
Its aid in every duty brings,
And softens all my cares:
And lights the sacred fire
Of love to God, and heavenly things,
And feeds the pure desire.
The healing balm to give;
That balm the saddest heart can cheer,
And make the dying live.
Where deathless pleasures reign;
And bids me seek my portion there,
Nor bids me seek in vain:
With the Redeemer’s blood;
And helps my feeble hope to rest
Upon a faithful God.
’Till this vile body dies;
And then on faith’s triumphant wings,
At once to glory rise.