“ALL THINGS PRAISE THEE”

Wayne S. Walker

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His
handiwork” (Ps. 19.1). “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
and His greatness is unsearchable” (Ps. 145.3)

INTRO.: A hymn which declares the glory of God and shows His
greatness is “All Things Praise Thee” (#30 in “Hymns for Worship
Revised”). The text was written by George William Conder, who was born,
the only son of George Conder, at Hitchin in Hertsfordshire, England, on
Nov. 30, 1821. After studying at Highbury College in London, he became
minister at High Wycombe Congregational Church in 1845. In 1849, he
moved to work with the Belgrave Chapel in Leeds, where in 1853 he
assisted in compiling the “Leeds Hymn Book.” From there he passed to
Cheetham Hill in Manchester in 1864 and to Queen’s Road, Forest Hill, in
London in 1870. In 1874 he published an Appendix to the “Leeds Hymn
Book,” to which he contributed “All Things Praise Thee,” originally in
six stanzas. His death occurred at Forest Hill on Nov. 8, 1874. John
Julian commented, “It is given in many collections, its popularity
arising to some extent from its remarkable word-painting. This is a
distinguishing feature of the author’s compositions both in prose and
verse.” It was published in its present form in Godfrey Thring’s
“Collection” of 1882.

These words have been set to many different tunes. Most of our
books have used “Dix,” composed in 1838 by Conrad Kocher for William C.
Dix’s “As With Gladness, Men of Old.” In this form it was found in the
1925 edition of the 1921 “Great Songs of the Church” No. 1 and the 1937
“Great Songs of the Church No. 2” both edited by E. L. Jorgenson. And
today it is thus used in the 1971 “Songs of the Church,” the 1990 “Songs
of the Church 21st C. Ed.,” and the 1994 “Songs of Faith and Praise” all
edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 “(Church) Gospel Songs and
Hymns” edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 “Great Songs Revised” edited by
Forrest M. McCann and Jack Boyd; and the 1992 “Praise for the Lord”
edited by John P. Wiegand.

However, this tune is most often associated with Folliot S.
Pierpont’s “For the Beauty of the Earth.” Therefore, this writer has
provided a new tune, an altered arrangement of which is found in the new
“Sing To the Lord: Song Supplement 2002,” compiled by Stevens, Stevens,
Shepard, and Morrison, and published by Guardian of Truth Foundation
(#3–if I do say so myself, I personally think that the original is
preferable). If anyone would like a copy of the original with permission
to make copies, just e-mail me with your regular address (it must be sent
by the Post Office), and I will be happy to see that you receive one.

The song mentions several venues from which God is praised.

I. From stanza 1, we see that praise is offered to God by the physical
heavens and earth.
“All things praise Thee, Lord most high, Heaven and earth, and sea and
sky;
All were for Thy glory made, That Thy greatness, thus displayed,
Should all worship bring to Thee; All things praise Thee–Lord, may we!”
A. The Lord created the heaven and earth, the sea and sky: Gen. 1.1
B. All these things were made for His glory: Ps. 8.1
C. Therefore, they display His greatness to all mankind: Ps. 150.1-2

II. From stanza 2, we see that praise is offered to God by the material
creation
“All things praise Thee–night to night Sings in silent hymns of light;
All things praise Thee–day by day Chants Thy power in burning ray;
Time and space are praising Thee; All things praise Thee–Lord, may we.”
A. The night was ordained by God as part of the cycle of life on earth:
Gen. 1.3-5
B. The day was also ordained by God with the burning ray of the sun to
rule: Gen. 1.14-18
C. So both night and day, the things which were made and occupy both
time and space bear witness to the One who made them: Rom. 1.20

III. From stanza 3, we see that praise is offered to God by the forces of
nature
“All things praise Thee–high and low, Rain and dew and sparkling snow,
Crimson sunset, fleecy cloud, Rippling stream, and tempest loud;
Summer, winter, all to Thee Glory render–Lord, may we!”
A. The rain and snow were ordered by God to provide for life on earth:
Isa. 55.10
B. The clouds, streams, and tempests are also part of God’s provisions
for us: Ps. 77.16-19
C. Even summer and winter show God’s goodness to mankind: Gen. 9.22

IV. From stanza 4, we see that praise is offered to God by angelic beings
“All things praise Thee–heaven’s high shrine Rings with melody divine;
Lowly bending at Thy feet, Seraph and archangel meet;
This their highest bliss, to be Ever praising–Lord, may we!”
A. The Bible is clear that heaven’s high shrine sings praise to God:
Rev. 4.1-11
B. The seraphim are pictured as praising God around His throne: Isa.
6.1-3
C. Even the archangel is devoted to the service of God: 1 Th. 4.16

VI. From stanza 5, we see that praise is offered to God by eternity
itself
“All things praise Thee–gracious Lord, Great Creator, powerful Word,
Omnipresent Spirit, now At Thy feet we humbly bow;
Lift our hearts in praise to Thee; All things praise Thee–Lord, may we!”
A. Eternity praises the Father, who is the Great Creator: Heb. 3.4
B. Eternity praises the Son, who is the powerful Word: Jn. 1.1
C. And eternity praises the Omnipresent Spirit: 2 Cor. 13.14
CONCL.: The physical heavens and earth, the material creation, the
forces of nature, even the angelic beings, and eternity itself all
express continual praise to the Lord who made them, watches over them,
and uses them to accomplish His purposes. God also created us, cares for
us, and wants us to do His will. Therefore, it should behoove us to join
with them and say, “All Things Praise Thee.”

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