Give thanks to God the sovereign Lord

Give thanks to God the sovereign Lord

Author: Isaac Watts
Published in 45 hymnals

Full Text

Give thanks to God the sovereign Lord;
His mercies still endure;
And be the King of kings adored;
His truth is ever sure.

What wonders hath his wisdom done!
How mighty is his hand!
Heav'n, earth, and sea, he framed alone;
How wide is his command

The sun supplies the day with light;
How bright his counsels shine!
The moon and stars adorn the night;
His works are all divine.

[He struck the sons of Egypt dead;
How dreadful is his rod!
And thence with joy his people led;
How gracious is our God!

He cleft the swelling sea in two;
His arm is great in might;
And gave the tribes a passage through;
His power and grace unite.

But Pharaoh's army there he drowned;
How glorious are his ways!
And brought his saints through desert ground;
Eternal be his praise!

Great monarchs fell beneath his hand;
Victorious is his sword;
While Isr'el took the promised land;
And faithful is his word.]

He saw the nations dead in sin;
He felt his pity move:
How sad the state the world was in!
How boundless was his love!

He sent to save us from our woe;
His goodness never fails;
From death, and hell, and every foe;
And still his grace prevails.

Give thanks to God the heav'nly King;
His mercies still endure:
Let the whole earth his praises sing;
His truth is ever sure.

The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts, 1806

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Give thanks to God the sovereign Lord
Author: Isaac Watts
Language: English


Give thanks to God the Sovereign Lord, [King] . I. Watts. [Ps. cxxxvi.] This C.M. version of Ps. 136 was published in his Psalms of David, &c., 1719, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines, with the following note:—

"In every stanza of this Psalm I have endeavoured to imitate the Chorus or Burden of the Song, For His mercy endureth for ever, and yet to maintain a perpetual variety."

The systematic way in which this end is accomplished is sketched out in the title which he gave to his Paraphrase. It reads: "God's Wonders of Creation, Providence, Redemption of Israel, and Salvation of his People." The form in which it is found in most modern collections, as in New Congregational Hymn Book, 1859, No. 226, and others, eliminates the reference to the "Redemption of Israel," thus reducing the hymn to 6 stanzas. The first line sometimes reads: "Give thanks to God, the Sovereign King."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)