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Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven
Psalm 103
LAUDA ANIMA  |  Hymn History  |  Same-Tune Hymns  |  Bible Passage
Author: From Psalm 103
Henry F. Lyte, 1793-1847
Musician: John Goss, 1800-1880

  Play MP3 • Click to listen to the music for this hymn.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To His feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who, like me, His praise should sing?
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the Everlasting King!

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress;
Praise Him, still the same forever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness!

Father-like, He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows,
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Widely as His mercy flows!

Angels, help us to adore Him,
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him;
Dwellers all in time and space,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace!



HYMN HISTORY:

Based on the 103rd Psalm, Henry Lyte's stately hymn of praise has probably begun more solemn ceremonies than any hymn in the English language. Lyte himself is of course more immediately connected with his hymn "Abide With Me" but the story of his hymn-writing goes back to the time when he was a curate at Marazion in Cornwall where he had come after his college days in Dublin. There, when he was twenty-five, he had a deep religious experience caused by the illness and death of a brother clergyman.

This experience turned Lyte from being a conventional and formal clergyman, with a gift for versifying, into a poet with a religious message. He says that the death of his friend 'who died happy in the thought that there was One who would atone for his delinquencies' made him 'study my Bible and preach in another manner than I had previously done'.

This free paraphrase of Psalm 103 was published in his book Spirit of the Psalms in 1834 when he was in his ministry at Brixham, the Devon fishing port. The Brixham fishermen are famous for their gallantry and daring in the stormy waters of the Atlantic fishing grounds, and Lyte's hymn has something of the tenderness of strong men in dangerous places.

Father-like He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows:
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes:

The hymn was chosen by Queen Elizabeth for her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh on November 20,1947 - also the day of the centenary of Lyte's death.

Lyte captures the measure of the Psalm in unforgettable verses. It has time, eternity, God and man all locked in its embrace, and its last verse has the soaring quality of high religion. In one grand sweep the writer brings the whole created universe into the act of praise.

Angels, help us to adore Him,
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him.
Dwellers all in time and space:
Praise Him! praise Him!
Praise with us the God of grace!


OTHER HYMNS with the SAME TUNE:

•   Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor  George H. Bourne, 1840-1925


BIBLE PASSAGE:

1 ¶ Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 ¶ The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
19 ¶ The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.



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