Hymn Story: Soli Deo Gloria

Original Title: "Glory Be To God On High, God Whose Glory Fills The Sky"

Written by John Taylor, circa 1790.

The Story:

John Taylor was born on July 30, 1750, in Norwich.  Taylor didn't set out to write hymns, but instead, stumbled upon it.  During a family reunion, Taylor unveiled a song he had written about his family, and it then came to be that Taylor was expected to write some sort of song for each successive family festivity.  

Even in his day, Taylor was not known for orthodox theology, but instead followed in his grandfather's footsteps, serving the Unitarian church for many years of his grown life.  This hymn was originally written as a service to that church.  Taylor's grandfather, also named John, was acquainted with the Wesley brothers who directly opposed his theology, particularly his doctrine of man. Thus, it comes as some surprise that Taylor begins his hymn with a verse from Charles Wesley's hymn, "Glory Be To God On High."

Original Lyrics:

1. Glory be to God on high,
God whose glory fills the sky!
Peace on earth to man forgiven,
Man, the well-beloved of heaven!

2. Favored mortals, raise the song;
Endless thanks to God belong;
Hearts o’erflowing with His praise,
Join the hymns your voices raise.

3. Mark the wonders of His hand;
Power, no empire can withstand;
Wisdom, angels’ glorious theme;
Goodness, one eternal stream!

4. Gracious Being! from Thy throne
Send Thy promised blessings down;
Let Thy light, Thy truth, Thy peace,
Bid our selfish passions cease.

Original Melody:

Benevento by Samuel Webbe.

A Gospel Hymnal (Vol. 1)

This song was arranged by Taylor Reavely to be sung at New Life Church and recorded on A Gospel Hymnal (Vol. 1). This story originally appeared at www.taylorreavely.com/blog on 01/30/2014.

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