429. The Heavens Declare Your Glory

1 The heavens declare your glory,
the firmament your power;
day unto day the story
repeats from hour to hour.
Night unto night replying,
proclaims in every land,
O Lord, with voice undying,
the wonders of your hand.

2 The sun with royal splendor
goes forth to chant your praise,
and moonbeams soft and tender
their gentler anthem raise.
O'er every tribe and nation
the music is outpoured,
the song of all creation
to you, creation's Lord.

3 All heaven on high rejoices
to do its Maker's will;
the stars with solemn voices
resound your praises still.
So let my whole behavior,
each thought, each deed I do,
be, Lord, my strength, my Savior,
a ceaseless song to you.

Text Information
First Line: The heavens declare your glory
Title: The Heavens Declare Your Glory
Versifier: Thomas R. Birks (1874, alt.)
Meter: 76 76 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Creation and Providence; Creation; Obedience
Tune Information
Composer: Johann S. Bach, 1685-1750
Meter: 76 76 D
Key: C Major
Source: Johann S. Bach "My Heart Ever Faithful," Cantata 68, adapt. from

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 19:1-2
st. 2 = Ps. 19:4-6
st. 3 = Ps. 19:14

This paraphrase of the opening verses of Psalm 19 was written by British scholar Thomas R. Birks (b. Staveley, Derbyshire, England, 1810; d. Cambridge, England, 1883), who published it in his Companion Psalter (1874). Birks was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After ordination in the Church of England, he served two churches and was a professor of moral philosophy at Cambridge. He wrote about a number of biblical subjects, especially prophecy, and prepared at least a hundred versifications of psalms.

Following the example of Psalm 19:1-6, this text takes as its theme the praise that all creation gives to its Creator. In typical nineteenth-century fashion Birks provides a moral: just as the physical universe around me praises the Lord God, so I must praise the Creator with all my thoughts, words and deeds (st. 3). The modernized version in the Psalter Hymnal reflects current pronoun usage. (For additional comments on this psalm see PHH 19.)

Liturgical Use:
An opening hymn of praise; for more suggestions see PHH 19.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

FAITHFUL is an adaptation of a tune from Johann S. Bach's (PHH 7) well-known aria "Mein gläubiges Herze" ("My heart ever faithful"), found in his Cantata 68. The tune's title is derived from the English translation of the aria's opening words.

A charming tune, FAITHFUL consists of repetitions and variations of just a few motives. Sing in unison with light accompaniment.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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