Keeping the Hymns Close By

I Stand Amazed (My Savior’s Love)

Author and Composer – Charles H. Gabriel, 1856 – 1932
Published in 1905In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. I John 4:9

Charles Hutchinson Gabriel was born in Wilton Iowa on August 18, 1856 and raised on a farm. He developed a love for music at an early age and taught himself to play the reed organ in his home. Though self trained, he started leading singing school educational events as a teenager. He began writing many of his songs during this time. Charles became one of the most prolific composers of gospel songs of his day. Themes of spreading the gospel and heaven abound in Gabriel’s songs. While serving as the music director at Grace Church in San Francisco, CA from 1890 – 1892. he was asked to write a song for a mission celebration. He wrote “Send the Light”. He was involved in the writing of more than 8,000 gospel songs as well as in the editing of numerous compilations and hymnals.

The words and music of “I Stand Amazed” first appeared in E.O. Excell’s collection, Praises in 1905. This hymn is also known as How Marvelous or My Savior’s Love. The Rev. Carlton R. Young, editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, notes: “This song of gratitude and praise for the atoning death of Jesus is a personal and Adventist interpretation of Luke’s account of Jesus’ sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, a portion of the passion narrative not included in the other Gospels.” Luke 22:44 reads, “And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (KJV)

Stanza two, in particular recreates this scene:
For me it was in the garden he prayed, “not my will, but thine”,
He had no tears for His own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine.
The response in the refrain is one of awe:
“How marvelous! How wonderful is my Savior’s love to me!”

From 1912 until his death in 1932 Charles was associated with the Homer Rodeheaver Publishing Company. His songs were used by Rodeheaver in the large Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns. Like many of the early gospel song musicians, Gabriel usually wrote both the texts and music for his songs.

Other well-known gospel favorites written or composed by Charles Gabriel include, “Higher Ground”, “He Lifted Me”, “He Is So Precious to Me”, “O That Will Be Glory” and “O It Is Wonderful.”

Taken from 101 Hymn Stories Copyright © 1982, 2012 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Taken from 101 More Hymn Stories Copyright © 1985, 2013 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Used by permission from “History of Hymns” by Dr. C. Michael Hawn, Director of the Sacred Music Program and Distinguished Professor, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.


Charles Gabriel