Alistair Begg On His Favorite Hymn

Alistair Begg on His Favorite Hymn

Dear Friend,

Perhaps my favorite hymn is “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.” It was written by Scotsman Henry Francis Lyte and it is inspired by Psalm 103. When Susan and I were married in 1975, Susan chose the melody, composed by John Goss in 1868, as her processional music. It served to turn our attention from ourselves to the grace, favor, and glory of God.

After we’d been married for some time, we discovered that the same hymn was part of the 1947 wedding ceremony of Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II. Isn’t that a wonderful picture of Her Majesty bowing in praise before He who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

That Victorian hymn is relatively modern compared to those written in the seventeenth century by Thomas Ken, the Anglican bishop in Bath and Wells. We have him to thank for giving us “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,” known as the Doxology. No doubt you have these words in mind as you hear the theme music for Truth For Life.

Incidentally, if you find opportunity to google the bishop’s work titled A Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Scholars of Winchester College, it will be well worth your while. The prayers, prepared for the students he mentored there, give a good framework for praying throughout the day, and for when we find ourselves tempted and in other challenging circumstances. This is good food for the soul!

If you’re open to another suggestion, let me propose adding the singing of the Doxology to your pre-Thanksgiving meal worship. Hearing these words rise up to the Lord acapella will be a blessing to both your family and your guests.

Other great works came from the seventeenth century. Many of the Puritan authors penned timeless books during this era, and I’m often helped by referencing their insights. If you’ve never benefited from the works of men like Richard Baxter, Jeremiah Burroughs, or John Bunyan, you’ll find our first book recommendation this month a wonderful introduction. The Glory of Grace is a collection of Scripture commentary by eleven Puritan authors whose faithful study of God’s Word will be a help as you prepare for Thanksgiving.

Also, in anticipation of Advent, our featured book during the second half of November is an Advent devotional by my good friend Sinclair Ferguson. In Love Came Down at Christmas, Sinclair gives us twenty-four daily readings from 1 Corinthians 13. As always with Sinclair’s books, we benefit from his rich theology and the warmth and clarity of his presentation.

From all of us at Truth For Life, have a blessed Thanksgiving!

With my love in the Lord Jesus,

Alistair Begg is the Senior Pastor of Cleveland's Parkside Church (located in Bainbridge, Geauga County, Ohio), a position he has had since 1983. He is the...

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