Text: Richard Mant (1776-1848)
Music: Christian F. Witt (c.1660-1716)
Tune name: STUTTGART
This hymn was first published in 1824 in Richard Mant’s Book of Psalms, in an English Metrical Version. Mant was an Anglican deacon, priest, and bishop who was prolific in his writing on church history and biblical studies as well as in hymnody. He also translated many hymns from the Latin, including (Hymnal #67) “See the destined day arise.”
The text is based on Psalm 145:1-12. Every line in the hymn captures some affirmation made in the Psalm. For example, the second half of Mant’s second stanza reads: “Age to age his works transmitteth; age to age his pow’r shall teach.” Compare this with the poetry in the Psalter, beginning at verse 4: “One generation shall praise thy works unto another, and declare thy power.” Below are the six stanzas from this hymn, followed by (in italics) stanzas seven through fourteen from the original.
1. God, my King, thy might confessing,
ever will I bless thy name;
day by day thy throne addressing,
still will I thy praise proclaim.
2. Honor great our God befitteth;
who his majesty can reach?
Age to age his work transmitteth;
age to age his pow’r shall teach.
3. They shall talk of all thy glory,
on thy might and greatness dwell,
speak of thy dread acts the story,
and thy deeds of wonder tell.
4. Nor shall fail from mem’ry’s treasure
works by love and mercy wrought;
works of love surpassing measure,
works of mercy passing thought.
5. Full of kindness and compassion,
slow to anger, vast in love,
God is good to all creation;
all his works his goodness prove.
6. All thy works, O Lord, shall bless thee;
thee shall all thy saints adore.
King supreme shall they confess thee,
and proclaim thy sovereign pow’r.
7. They, thy might, all might excelling,
shall to all mankind make known;
and the brightness of thy dwelling,
and the glories of thy throne.
8. Ever through eternal ages
shall thy royal might remain;
evermore thy brightness blazes,
ever lasts thy throned reign.
9. Them that fall the Lord protecteth,
he sustains the bow’d and bent;
every eye from thee expecteth,
fix’d on thee, its nourishment.
10. Thou to all, great God of nature,
giv’st in season due their food;
spread’st thy hand, and every creature
is by thee fulfilled with good.
11. God is just in all he doth,
kind is he in all his ways;
he his ready presence showeth,
when a faithful servant prays.
12. Who sincerely seek and fear him,
he to them their wish will give;
when they call, the Lord will hear them,
he will hear them, and relieve.
13. From Jehovah all who prize him
shall his saving health enjoy;
all the wicked, who despise him,
he will in their sin destroy.
14. Still, Jehovah, thee confessing
shall my tongue thy praise proclaim,
and may all making with blessing
ever hail thy holy Name.
STUTTGART first appeared in print in Psalmodia Sacra (1715), an influential hymnal of the early eighteenth century. The hymnal’s editor, Christian F. Witt, was a German composer and organist, at one time Kapellmeister at the Gotha court. The cheerful and simple two-line tune is as rhythmically straightforward as a hymn can be, and includes a number of repeated notes.
The tune is used in our Hymnal for two other hymns: the Advent hymn (Hymnal #1) “Come, thou long-expected Jesus” and the Epiphany hymn “Earth has many a noble city” (Hymnal #48).
Below is Andrew Remillard’s rendition of this hymn on piano.