Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above.@Psalm 148:1
portrait
Prince Albert
(1819–1861)

Psalms, Hymns, and An­thems of the Found­ling Hos­pi­tal Tho­mas Co­ram, 1796 (stan­zas 1 & 2) & Ed­ward Os­ler, Church and King 1836 (stan­za 3).

Go­tha (Al­bert) Prince Al­bert of Saxe-Co­burg and Go­tha (1819–1861), in The Pres­by­ter­i­an Book of Praise (Lon­don: Hen­ry Frowde, 1897), num­ber 21 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Edward Osler
(1798–1863)

Background: Lon­don’s Found­ling Hos­pi­tal was an or­phan­age that be­came fa­mous for sing­ing. It was found­ed in 1739 by a mer­chant named Tho­mas Cor­am who was al­so in­volved in pro­mot­ing the Wes­leys’ evan­gel­is­tic ef­forts in Geor­gia.

By the ear­ly 1800s it was quite in vogue for Lon­don­ers to vi­sit Sun­day ser­vic­es at the or­phan­age where the child­ren were led in sing­ing by trained mu­si­cians and could be ob­served at din­ner in their quaint cos­tumes. Han­del was so fond of the in­st­it­ution that he do­nat­ed a cha­pel or­gan and gave a num­ber of ben­e­fit per­for­manc­es of Mes­si­ah to raise funds for it.

The Found­ling Hos­pital is re­mem­bered to­day chief­ly through a hymn­book called Psalms, Hymns, and An­thems of the Found­ling Hos­pi­tal, Lon­don, which was pub­lished by Cor­am in 1796. Pasted in­to the jacket of that hymn­book were the words to this hymn. Though there is much con­jec­ture about the au­thor­ship of the text, each the­o­ry has been re­fute­d, and it re­mains anon­y­mous.

How­ev­er, the var­i­ous tunes that are com­mon­ly as­so­ci­at­ed with the text are more ea­si­ly stu­died. For ins­tance, the first tune that was used with the text was Franz Jo­seph Hay­dn’s Aus­tri­an Hymn. The tune gained its no­to­ri­e­ty as Deutsch­land, Deutsch­land, üb­er Al­les, but be­gan its life as Gott er­halte Franz, den Kai­ser (God Save Em­per­or Franz) and it was first per­formed on Franz’ birth­day in 1797. Since some came to as­so­ci­ate the tune Aus­tri­an Hymn with Hit­ler, the text to Praise the Lord: Ye Hea­vens, Adore Him is oft­en cou­pled with the hymn tune Hy­fry­dol.

The first verse of the hymn is a par­a­phrase of Psalm 148 which shows all of cre­a­tion prais­ing the Lord, from the an­gels and hea­ven­ly hosts above to the crea­tures of the sea and land be­low. Imp­li­cit in this praise is the fact that God has cre­at­ed all of these be­ings and pro­vides for their needs. His most lov­ing pro­vi­sion is the re­demp­tion He’s of­fered to us from sin and death, which is the sub­ject of the second verse.

The third verse, which was added in 1836 by Ed­ward Os­ler in his journal Church and King and first appeared in Hall’s Mitre Hymn Book is a dox­ol­o­gy of praise for both the cre­a­tion of the first verse and the re­demp­tion of the se­cond. It is tru­ly a fit­ting re­sponse to God’s good­ness.

Praise the Lord: ye heavens, adore Him;
Praise Him, angels in the height.
Sun and moon, rejoice before Him;
Praise Him, all ye stars of light.
Praise the Lord, for He hath spoken;
Worlds His mighty voice obeyed.
Laws which never shall be broken
For their guidance He hath made.

Praise the Lord, for He is glorious;
Never shall His promise fail.
God hath made His saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.
Praise the God of our salvation;
Hosts on high, His power proclaim.
Heaven and earth and all creation,
Laud and magnify His name.

Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
Lord, we offer unto Thee.
Young and old, Thy praise expressing,
In glad homage bend the knee.
All the saints in Heaven adore Thee;
We would bow before Thy throne.
As Thine angels serve before Thee,
So on earth Thy will be done.