Every Sunday morning, in the Baptist church I attended as a child, we would stand and sing the 'Doxology' as the ushers proceeded to the front after taking up the offering. I have to confess that there were times I sang the words more from habit than an expression of the heart. Years later, in another church, in another town, I found they sang the same words to a different melody. The meaning is the same: Everything we have is a gift from God, and we offer up our praise to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The words were written in 1674 by Thomas Ken, a priest in the Church of England. It was written at a time when the established church sang only Scripture (such as the Psalms) as hymns. It was thought to be sinful and blasphemous to write new lyrics for church music. For this reason, Ken's music was first written to be sung at Winchester College. The boys attending this school were given strict instructions to sing the words only in their rooms or for private devotions.
The music, also known as 'Old 100th', Genevan Psalter, 1551, is attributed to Louis Bourgeois.
The words, though simply written, speak volumes, and I am reminded of a verse in James:
'Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.' James 1:17



Marsha said...

I need to talk to Musicman about pulling this one out again. He wasn't there the Sunday we sang it, but it's beautiful! Thanks for this post.

BP said...

It is a beautiful song. I didn't know that history, interesting.