God of My Life

God of my life! through all its days

Author: Philip Doddridge
Published in 234 hymnals

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Representative Text

1 God of my life, through all my days
I'll tune the grateful notes of praise;
The song shall wake with opening light,
And warble to the silent night.

2 When anxious care would break my rest,
And grief would tear my throbbing breast,
The notes of praise ascending high
Shall check the murmur and the sigh.

3 When death o'er nature shall prevail,
And all the powers of language fail,
Joy through my swimming eyes shall break
And mean the thanks I cannot speak.

4 But O, when that last conflict's o'er,
And I am chained to earth no more,
With what glad accents shall I rise
To join the music of the skies!

5 Then shall I learn th'exalted strains
That echo through the heavenly plains,
And emulate with joy unknown
The glowing seraphs 'round Thy throne.

Amen.

Source: African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #13

Author: Philip Doddridge

Philip Doddridge (b. London, England, 1702; d. Lisbon, Portugal, 1751) belonged to the Non-conformist Church (not associated with the Church of England). Its members were frequently the focus of discrimination. Offered an education by a rich patron to prepare him for ordination in the Church of England, Doddridge chose instead to remain in the Non-conformist Church. For twenty years he pastored a poor parish in Northampton, where he opened an academy for training Non-conformist ministers and taught most of the subjects himself. Doddridge suffered from tuberculosis, and when Lady Huntington, one of his patrons, offered to finance a trip to Lisbon for his health, he is reputed to have said, "I can as well go to heaven from Lisbon as from Nort… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: God of my life! through all its days
Title: God of My Life
Author: Philip Doddridge
Meter: 8.8.8.8
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain

Notes

God of my life, through all its [my] days. P. Doddridge. [Praise for unfailing mercies.] This hymn is dated in the Baptist Psalm & Hymns, revised edition 1871 and 1880, " 1751," the year of Doddridge's death, but upon what authority it is not stated. Miller Singers and Songs, 1869, p. 172) evidently took this date as the foundation of his note which reads:—

"This hymn may be read autobiographically, especially verse 3, in reference to the peaceful thankfulness in his heart when the last wave of his life was ebbing out at Lisbon. The words are:—
“When death o'er nature shall prevail,
And all its powers of language fail,
Joy through my swimming eyes shall break,
And mean the thanks I cannot speak.'"

No evidence beyond these unauthorised statements is forthcoming to show that this was the author's death-bed hymn, as this date, and Miller's note would imply. It was published in Doddridge's (posthumous) Hymns, &c, by J. Orton, 1755, No. 71, in 6 st! of 4 line, and headed, "Praising God through the whole of our existence, Psalm cxlvi. 2." In 1839 it was reprinted by J. D. Humphreys in his edition of Doddridge's Hymns, &c, and accompanied by the following note:—

"It is interesting to remember, that, when pressed iown by the hand of disease and tottering on the brink of eternity, the pious author of this hymn realized the divine consolations its perusal may inspire," p. 61.

This note seems to imply that the hymn was written before the author's illness at Lisbon, in 1751, and probably the date of 1740, given to it by Dr. Hatfield in his Church Hymn Book, N. Y., 1872, No. 182, is correct. In a few collections it is given as "God of my life, through all my days." Its use in all English-speaking countries is extensive.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

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The Cyber Hymnal #1961
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African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #13

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The Cyber Hymnal #1961

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