WHEN ALL THY MERCIES, O MY GOD
Joseph Addison, 1672–1719
Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever. (1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV)
A reflection upon God’s blessings will always result in a response of worship and praise; a neglect of gratitude will eventually produce a lifestyle of self-centeredness.
Joseph Addison, the author of this hymn, wrote this introduction for his text:
If gratitude is due from man to man, how much more from man to his Maker. The Supreme being does not only confer upon us those bounties which proceed immediately from His hand, but even those benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Any blessing which we enjoy, by what means soever derived, is the gift of Him who is the great author of good and the Father of mercies.
Joseph Addison was recognized in his era as one of England’s literary greats. He was not only a writer and a moralist, but a man of affairs in his government. He was elected to Parliament and then appointed successively as Under Secretary, Secretary for Ireland, and finally Secretary of State.
These words are thought to have been written by Joseph Addison following his rescue from a shipwreck during a storm off the Coast of Genoa, Italy. The hymn originally had 13 stanzas. It was published on August 9, 1712, in a London daily paper, The Spectator, of which Addison served for a time as editor. The surviving four stanzas have since provided God’s people with a meaningful aid in expressing grateful worship to God for all of His enduring mercies:
When all Thy mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys, transported with the view I’m lost in wonder, love and praise.
Unnumbered comforts to my soul Thy tender care bestowed before my infant heart conceived from whom those comforts flowed.
When worn with sickness, oft hast Thou with health renewed my face; and, when in sins and sorrows bowed, revived my soul with grace.
Thru ev’ry period of my life Thy goodness I’ll pursue, and after death, in distant worlds, the glorious theme renew.
For Today: Psalm 63:1–5; 86:5–17; 89:1; 103:8–14; James 3:17
Reflect with this author upon God’s mercy of comfort, His mercy of physical and spiritual healing, His mercy of reviving grace—then, respond to Him with grateful expressions of worship and praise. Allow this hymn to help—