Behind The Doxology: Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow
The Doxology is a short hymn many of us that grew up in church sung during the offering.
Today some churches have moved away from this tradition while others continue to maintain this tradition.
So, where did the Doxology originate?
Doxology is a Greek word that is described as a “short hymn of praise to God”.
Today the Doxology we sing is:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The song was first published in 1709. These lyrics were written by Thomas Ken in 1674.
Thomas Ken, an Anglican Bishop, wrote the verse as the final verse to two hymns, “Awake, my soul, and with the sun” and “Glory to thee, my God, this night.” These were intended for morning and evening worship at Winchester College. The morning hymn originally contained fourteen stanzas.
Thomas Ken went from being an orphaned child, raised by his sister, to a scholar at Winchester College. He held postions in various churches and academic positions before eventually becoming chaplain to Princess Mary and King Charles II. He stood up to his employer and refused to allow his house be used to house the royal mistress. He’d also stood earlier against Princess Mary in a case that in George Crawford’s words, was “a case of immorality at the Court.”
In 1684, Thomas Ken became Bishop of Bath and Wells. A decade earlier he’d published A Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Scholars of Winchester College. He encouraged his readers to “be sure to sing the Morning and Evening Hymn in your chamber devoutly.”
In 1695, he published the three hymns in which Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow was the closing stanza in the appendix.
This final verse Ken wrote eventually began to stand on it’s own and was sung to a tune known as the Old 100th. This hymn is sometimes even referred to as the Old 100th.
The lyrics were also sung to other tunes such as “Duke Street”, “Lasst uns erfreuen”, and “The Eighth Tune”.
In a 1709 edition, Ken changed “Praise him above y’ Angelick Host” to “Praise him above, ye heavenly host,” and the lines reached their final form.
Bishop Thomas Ken died in 1711.