Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

November 28

John Milton, 1608–1674
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love [mercy] endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.
A gladsome, joyous mind is the product of a grateful, praising heart. Gratefulness is the opposite of selfishness. The selfish person is boastful of his accomplishments. The grateful Christian, however, realizes that all achievements and blessings come only from God’s bountiful hand. This realization results in a life of praise.
Far too often our prayer life consists only of a series of personal requests. God wants our requests, but He also desires to hear our praise for His eternal kindness and love in response to our daily needs.
This hymn text of praise was written by John Milton in 1621 when he was only 15 years of age. It was based on verses 1, 2, 7, and 23 of Psalm 136, a psalm that refrains each of its 26 verses with the reminder that God’s love/mercy/kindness endure forever. This hymn is one of 19 poetic versions of various psalms written by Milton. Today, however, John Milton is best remembered as the brilliant, blind English poet who wrote the classic masterpieces, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. He is also credited with having much influence on the later hymn writings of Isaac Watts (“the father of English hymnody”) and Charles Wesley (author of 6,500 hymn texts).
Let us with a gladsome mind praise the Lord, for He is kind:
For His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure.
Let us blaze His name abroad; for of gods He is the God:
For His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure.
He with all-commanding might filled the new-made world with light:
For His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure.
All things living He doth feed; His full hand supplies their need:
For His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure.
Let us then with gladsome mind praise the Lord, for He is kind:
For His mercies shall endure, ever faithful, ever sure.

    For Today: Psalm 63:1–5; 103:2; 136; 145:9; James 1:17

It is always inspiring to read about the work of God in the life of a Bible character or some great leader in history. But it is even more profitable for us to recount the mercies of God in our own past life and to offer Him praise for His eternal love. Why not do so with this little hymn?

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