In this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful to the many people who benefit from Hymnary on a regular basis.

So far in 2021 we have had more than 8 million people from more than 200 countries around the globe come to the Hymnary website! Thank you to all who use and all who support it with gifts of time, talent and treasure.

If you feel moved to support our work today with a gift of any amount and a word of encouragement, we would be grateful. To donate online, please use the Calvin University secure giving site. If you'd like to make a gift by check, please send it to:, Calvin University, 3201 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

For Thy mercy and Thy grace

For Thy mercy and Thy grace

Author: Henry Downton (1841)
Published in 196 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 For thy mercy and thy grace,
faithful through another year,
hear our song of thankfulness;,
Jesus, our Redeemer, hear.

2 In our weakness and distress,
Rock of Strength, be thou our stay;
in the pathless wilderness
be our true and living Way.

3 Keep us faithful, keep us pure,
keep us evermore thine own.
Help, O help us to endure,
fit us for thy promised crown.

4 So within thy palace gate
we shall praise on golden strings
thee, the only potentate,
Lord of lords and King of kings.

Source: Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #189

Author: Henry Downton

Downton, Henry, M.A, son of Mr. John Downton, Sub-Librarian of Trinity College, Cambridge, was born at Pulverbatch, Shropshire, Feb. 12, 1818, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. 1840, and M.A. 1843. Taking Holy Orders in 1843, he became Curate of Bembridge, Isle of Wight, 1843, and of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, 1847. In 1849 he was preferred to the Incumbency of St. John's, Chatham. He went to Geneva as English Chaplain in 1857; and was appointed Rector of Hopton in 1873. He was also for some time Domestic Chaplain to the late Lord Monson. He died at Hopton, June 8, 1885. Mr. Downton published a translation of Professor Ernest Naville's Lectures on Modern Atheism, 1865; and Holy Scripture and the Temperance Qu… Go to person page >


For Thy mercy and Thy grace. H. Downton. [Old and New Year.] Written in 1841, and first published in the Church of England Magazine, in 1843. p. 15, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled, "A Hymn for the commencement of the Year." In 1851 it was republished with one alteration, and the omission of stanzas ii. and iii., in A. Tozer Russell's Psalms & Hymns. This was reproduced, with further alterations, in Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1861. Numerous versions exist in modern hymnals, Russell's abridged text, as in the Sarum Hymnal, being most in favour. In 1873 the author included it in its original form, with two unimportant alterations, in his Hymns and Verses, &c, pp. 7, 8. Original text as above, authorised text in Thring's Collection, 1882, and the Westminster Abbey Hymn Book, 1883. The doxology sometimes added thereto as in Church Hymns, 1871, is not in the original and is seldom adopted. The hymn, in its various forms and readings, is the most popular, and most widely used of Mr. Downton's productions.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


For Thy mercy and Thy grace, p. 381, i. In some hymnals pub. since 1892, the form of this hymn has been altered, when compared with the authorized text, as in Thring's Collection, 1882 :—
1. Church Hymn , 1903, the omission of st. vii.
2. Hymns Ancient & Modern 1904, the old Ancient & Modern text, 1861, with the omission of its stanza v.
3. The Church Hymnary (Scottish), 1898, the full text, with slight alterations in st. i.
4. The Pilgrim Hymnal (American), 1904, in four stanzas only.
5. Worship Song (W. G. Horder), 1905, with the omission of st. ii.
6. The English Hymnal,l905, with omission of st. vii. and restoration of st. v., l. 4, from "Comfort Thou his dying bed," to "Comfort Thou his dying head."
The hymn is also found in other collections of a late date; but these examples are sufficient to indicate both the strength and the weakness of the hymn.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)



Orlando Gibbons (PHH 167) composed SONG 13 in soprano and bass parts. Used as a setting for a text from the Song of Songs, the tune was published in George Withers' Hymnes and Songs of the Church (1623) as hymn number 13 (hence the tune name). As in other hymnals, the melody is presented in a simpli…

Go to tune page >




The Cyber Hymnal #1604
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 7 of 7)

Church Family Worship #72

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #585

TextPage Scan

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #189

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #258

Hymns Old and New #140


The Cyber Hymnal #1604


The Song Book of the Salvation Army #937

Include 189 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us


It looks like you are using an ad-blocker. Ad revenue helps keep us running. Please consider white-listing or subscribing to eliminate ads entirely and help support