Words by Henry F. Lyte (1793-1847)

(Also included in the Baptist Hymnal, 1975 ed., Convention Press, Nashville, #8; 1991 ed., Convention Press, Nashville, #32; 2008, ed., LifeWay, Nashville, #2; The Celebration Hymnal, 1997, Word/Integrity, Waco – #1; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, 1986, Word, Waco – #3.)

The Hymn

  1. Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
    To His feet your tribute bring.
    Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
    Who like me His praise should sing:
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    Praise the everlasting King.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 goes.
  4. Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
    Blows the wind and it is gone;
    But while mortals rise and perish
    God endures unchanging on,
    Praise Him, praise Him,
    Praise Him, praise Him,
    Praise the High Eternal One!
  5. Angels, help us to adore Him;
    Ye behold Him face to face;
    Saints triumphant, bow before Him,
    Gathered in from every race.
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    Praise with us the God of grace.

(Hymn words accessed at Center for Church Music, Songs and Hymns) Stanzas in bold are those used in our sample hymnal. [Note: I have changed the words “Praise Him, Praise Him/Praise Him, Praise Him” to read “Alleluia! Alleluia!” as is consistent with the hymnbooks I have available to me—as opposed to the on-line version above (the change was made early in the hymn’s history). The lines italicized in the last stanza have been adapted as in our hymnal rather than “Sun and moon, bow down before Him/Dwellers in all time and space.” I have included these changes not to discount the collectors on the website, but to keep a consistency with the Hymnals we have and to keep the integrity of the theology of the Psalm from which the words were taken in the original poem. Note: I have left stanza untouched from the website as it is not included in our hymn collection.]

Scriptural Connection

Scriptural connections are much easier to be had when we know the basis from which a poet has taken his words. In the case of this hymn, we find a paraphrase of one of the Psalms that was collected in the early 19th century. Particularly, this is a paraphrase of Psalm 103, so that should be the best connection that we make.

What does it mean?

Yet another hymn encourages worshipers to praise God. We are to pay homage (or tribute) to Him in the form of praise. The call to place this tribute at His feet is a visual phrasing that brings to mind the payment of owed gains (known as tribute) from those who were servants of another. It is a terminology most aptly applied to conquered peoples paying tribute to the conquering king or authority. The tribute that we are to lay at His feet is not a monetary one so much as a payment of praise that is His due because He has conquered our sinful nature and set us free—so we gladly bring this payment.

Those who have not known distress and being set free from an oppressor (like the ancient Hebrews) are to continue to bring this tribute just as their fathers who saw it firsthand. He treats us just as a loving Father would – with loving, gentle hands, but strong in correction. Heavenly beings (angels) as well as “saints triumphant” (those who have conquered sin through God’s intervention) are both called upon to praise Him. Again the first stanza tells us why: He has “ransomed, healed, restored, and forgiven” us.

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