Words by Anonymous (from The Foundling Hospital Collection, 1796) A third stanza was added later written by Edward Osler (1798-1863)

(Also included in Baptist Hymnal 1975 ed. – #11 (includes third verse), 1991 ed. – #36 (includes verse 3), 2008 ed. – #33 (also includes verse 3); The Celebration Hymnal, Word, Waco, 1997 – #82 (includes verse 3); The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, Word, Waco, 1986 – #9 (also includes verse 3).)

The Hymn

  1. Praise the Lord: ye heavens, adore Him;
    Praise Him, angels, in the height;
    Sun and moon, rejoice before Him;
    Praise Him, all ye stars and light.
    Praise the Lord, for He hath spoken;
    Worlds His mighty voice obeyed.
    Laws which never shall be broken
    For their guidance He hath made.(Our 1956 hymnal reverses order – “hath He made.”)
  2. Praise the Lord, for He is glorious;
    Never shall His promise fail.
    God hath made His saints victorious;
    Sin and death shall not prevail.
    Praise the God of our salvation;
    Hosts on high, His power proclaim.
    Heaven and earth and all creation,
    Laud and magnify His Name.
  3. Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
    Lord, we offer unto Thee;
    Young and old, Thy praise expressing,
    In glad homage bend the knee.
    All the saints in heaven adore Thee;
    We would bow before Thy throne:
    As Thine angels serve before Thee,
    So on earth Thy will be done. (Hymn words accessed at Hymnary.org)

[Note: The 1956 edition of the Baptist Hymnal includes only verses 1 & 2.]

Scriptural Connection

As with many of our praise hymns (to which the early part of this hymnal are dedicated), it is natural to look to the Psalms for inspiration. In this case a worthy Psalm is 148. This Psalm begins with a call for all of the heavens to praise the Lord, and then proceeds to name individual inhabitants of the heavens (sun and moon) and moves on to all of Creation itself in this magnificent call to worship.

What does it mean?

Just as with our focal scripture from Psalm 148, the hymn-writer calls into praise all of Creation, starting with the inhabitants of heaven (sun, moon, stars, even angels) and then moves to the earth and creatures there. The laws that cannot be broken are the laws of nature that have been set forth by the Mighty Maker—God. In fact, if those laws are broken (for instance in the provision of salvation) it is only God who might dare to brake them.

While I am glad to sing along with Mr. Osler’s third stanza, it seems to be more of a coda to what has been proclaimed in the original two verses. This third stanza offers for the worshiper an opportunity to be included in the praise. I am also satisfied that the two original verses stand alone as a call for worship from all of God’s Creation.

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.