Joseph Addison, 1672-1719

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.
I Chronicles 16:11

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 to this 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 of 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 origianlly 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 four stanzas commonly used in hymnals 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, Iím lost
In wonder, love, and praise.

To all my weak complaints and cries
Thy mercy lent an ear,
Ere yet my feeble thoughts had learned
To form themselves in prayer.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul
Thy tender care bestowed,
Before my infant heart conceived
From Whom those comforts flowed.

When in the slippery paths of youth
With heedless steps I ran,
Thine arm unseen conveyed me safe,
And led me up to man.

Through hidden dangers, toils, and deaths,
It gently cleared my way;
And through the pleasing snares of vice,
More to be feared than they.

O how shall words with equal warmth
The gratitude declare,
That glows within my ravished heart?
But Thou canst read it there.

Thy bounteous hand with worldly bliss
Hath made my cup run oíer;
And, in a kind and faithful Friend,
Hath doubled all my store.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the last a cheerful heart
That tastes those gifts with joy.

When worn with sickness, oft hast Thou
With health renewed my face;
And, when in sins and sorrows sunk,
Revived my soul with grace.

Through every period of my life
Thy goodness Iíll pursue
And after death, in distant worlds,
The glorious theme renew.

When nature fails, and day and night
Divide Thy works no more,
My ever grateful heart, O Lord,
Thy mercy shall adore.

Through all eternity to Thee
A joyful song Iíll raise;
For, oh, eternityís too short
To utter all Thy praise!

*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.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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