Abba, Father! We Approach Thee

Abba, Father! We Approach Thee
James Deck

James Deck was born to a godly, praying mother in 1802 in Suffolk, England. His mother would retire every evening for an hour of prayer on behalf of her children and grandchildren.

As a young man, James studied for the army in France under one of Napoleon’s generals. He received a commission to India in 1824.

James Deck, having grown up under the prayers and influence of his mother, knew great conviction for his sin. In fact, he drew up a code of resolutions and signed it in his own blood, only to fail in keeping them in his own strength. Upon returning to England in 1826, James was brought under the power of the gospel and was truly converted after hearing a sermon by a clergyman under whom his sister was also saved. All things became new to him. It was at this time that he met and married his wife.

Deciding that the Lord was calling him to become a clergyman, James left the army. Soon after, he found himself at odds with the Church of England. He said to his wife, “I have left the Army to become a clergyman, but now see that the Church of England is contrary to the Word of God; what shall I do?” Her noble reply was, “Whatever you believe to be the will of God, do it at any cost”.

Taken from ‘Chief Men amongst the Brethren’

“Seeking thus to be absolutely guided by the written Word they presently found themselves in touch with many other Christians similarly exercised at the time; and who since have become known as “brethren”. Leaving the Church of England and the traditions of men, and looking only to the Lord to supply their temporal wants, a trust never disappointed, Mr. Deck began to witness for Christ in the villages of Colaton, Raleigh, Kingston, Devon, seeking, like Ezra, not only to be a ‘ready scribe’ (Ezra 7: 6) in the Word of God, but likewise, “to do and to teach” the precious truths so recently apprehended in it. “

During this time the following hymn, among many, was written:

Abba Father! we approach Thee
In our Saviour’s precious name;
We, Thy children, here assembling,
Access to Thy presence claim.
From our sin His blood hath washed us;
‘Tis through Him our souls draw near;
And Thy Spirit, too, hath taught us,
“Abba, Father!” name so dear.

Once as prodigals we wandered,
In our folly, far from Thee;
But Thy grace, o’er sin abounding,
Rescued us from misery.
Thou Thy prodigals hast pardoned,
Loved us with a Father’s love;
Welcomed us with joy o’erflowing,
E’en to dwell with Thee above.

Clothed in garments of salvation,
At thy table is our place;
We rejoice, and Thou rejoicest,
In the riches of Thy grace.
“It is meet,” we hear Thee saying,
“We should merry be and glad;
I have found My once lost children,
Now they live, who once were dead.”

Abba, Father! all adore Thee,
All rejoice in heaven above;
While in us they learn the wonders
Of Thy wisdom, power and love
Soon, before Thy throne assembled,
All Thy children shall proclaim,
“Glory, everlasting glory,
Be to God and to the Lamb!”

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