441. All Praise to You, My God, This Night

1 All praise to you, my God, this night,
for all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
beneath the shelter of your wings.

2 Forgive me, Lord, for this I pray,
the wrong that I have done this day.
May peace with God and neighbor be,
before I sleep, restored to me.

3 Lord, may I be at rest in you
and sweetly sleep the whole night through.
Refresh my strength, for your own sake,
so I may serve you when I wake.

4 Praise, God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below.
Praise him above, you heavenly host;
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Text Information
First Line: All praise to you, my God, this night
Title: All Praise to You, My God, This Night
Author: Thomas Ken (1709m alt.)
Meter: LM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Doxologies; Praise & Adoration; Songs for Children: Hymns (7 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: Thomas Tallis (c. 1561)
Meter: LM
Key: G Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 91
st. 2 = Prov. 3:24
st. 3 = Ps. 4:8

Anglican bishop Thomas Ken (b. Berkampstead, Hertfordshire, England, 1637; d. Longleat, Wiltshire, England, 1711) wrote a group of three hymns for morning, evening, and midnight devotions for the students at Winchester College; this is the evening hymn. Ken suggested that the students sing these hymns "in your chamber devoutly." Although an unauthorized pamphlet version of the evening hymn appeared in 1692, the text was first published in Henry Playford's Harmonia Sacra (1693). Ken published the text in his Manual of Prayers (1695 ed.) and revised it for his 1709 edition. That edition is the source of the Psalter Hymnal version which presents a modernized text of four of the original twelve stanzas (st. 1, 2, 4, and 12). Some hymnals begin the text with these words: "Glory to Thee, my God, this night," a line from Ken's 1695 publication. Typical of the piety of Ken's day, the original stanza 3 read:

Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed;
Teach me to die, that so I may
Rise glorious at the awful day.

The oldest and most popular of the traditional English evening hymns, "All Praise to You" has standard features of an evening hymn: thanksgiving for the day that is past (st. 1), penitence for sin committed (st. 2), prayer for peaceful sleep (st. 3), and confidence in God's care and keeping (st. 1-3). The final stanza (st. 4) has become the most famous doxology in the English language (also found at 637 and 638).

Thomas Ken studied at Winchester College, Hart Hall, and New College, Oxford, England. Ordained in the Church of England in 1662, he served variously as pastor, chaplain at Winchester College (1669-1679), chaplain to Princess (later Queen) Mary in The Hague, and bishop of Bath and Wells (1685-1691). He was a man of conscience and independent mind who did not shirk from confrontations with royalty. When King Charles II came to visit Winchester, he took along his mistress, the famous actress Nell Gwynne. Ken was asked to provide lodging for her. The story is told that Ken quickly declared his house under repair and had a builder take off the roof! He later was dismissed from the court at The Hague when he protested a case of immorality. Then, later in 1688, Bishop Ken refused to read King James II's Declaration of Indulgence in the churches, which granted greater religious freedom in England, and he was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London. A few years later he refused to swear allegiance to King William, and he lost his bishopric.

Ken wrote many hymns, which were published posthumously in 1721 and republished in 1868 as Bishop Ken s Christian Year, or Hymns and Poems for the Holy Days and Festivals of the Church. But he is best known for his morning, evening, and midnight hymns, each of which have as their final stanza the famous doxology “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow.”

Liturgical Use:
A fine evening hymn well suited to the close of evening worship; midweek prayer meetings; Old Year’s Eve services (“night” would then be used in the figurative sense).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

TALLIS CANON is one of nine tunes Thomas Tallis (PHH 62) contributed to Matthew Parker's Psalter (around 1561). There it was used as a setting for Psalm 67. In the original tune the melody began in the tenor, followed by the soprano, and featured repeated phrases. Thomas Ravenscroft (PHH 59) published the tune, with the repeat phrases omitted, in his Whole Book of Psalmes (1621). The Ravenscroft version is the setting that virtually all modern hymnals use for this text.

TALLIS CANON is a round most congregations can easily sing in two parts, especially when women sing the first part and men sing the second. The congregation could also sing the hymn as a four-part round (each entry at four beats). Try also to sing unaccompanied (organists could sound the first phrase of each entry and then sing along).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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