1. This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—His hand the wonders wrought.
2 .This is my Father’s world: the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.
3. This is my Father’s world, from His eternal throne,
He watch doth keep when I’m asleep, and I am not alone.
This is my Father’s world, His love has filled my breast,
I am reconciled, I am His child, my soul has found His rest.*
4. This is my Father’s world: O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet!
This is my Father’s world: Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!Matbie D Babcock, 1901
THE HYMN WRITER
Maltbie Babcock (1858–1901) was born in New York and was a high-ranking student in college and seminary. Tall, muscular, and broad-shouldered, he presided over the baseball team, was an expert pitcher and fantastic swimmer. As a musician, he played various musical instruments, directed his school’s orchestra, was a lead vocalist and head of the glee club, and played and composed for the organ. Babcock loved poetry and was sometimes found reciting from his favorite poet, Wordsworth, though he was well versed in Tennyson and Browning as well. His own poetry was said to be full of beauty and life. His love of words was incorporated beautifully into his calling as a preacher. He was well known for delivering incisive, fresh, soul-gripping sermons. Babcock loved the outdoors, hiking and spending time as he put it, “in his Father’s world.” His godliness and vibrant personality was a delight to all who met him, especially those who laughed at his impersonations, enjoyed his skillful drawings, benefitted from his handiness with tools and were blessed by his shepherding and teaching.
Rev. Oliver Huckel spoke glowingly of Babcock when he said, “His music, his poetry, his preaching were all equally full of what, to me, was his chief charm and his greatest power, which was, his own magnetic and magnificent personality. He showed in himself that a man could be Christ-like, and yet be thoroughly up to the times, always cheery-hearted, wide-awake in every line of thought, and enjoying all the time the good and noble things of life. He enjoyed art, and music, and literature, and athletics, and nature to the full, and proved that he was a better Christian for it all.”
Babcock’s life was not always without difficulty. He and his wife, Katherine had two children, both of whom died in infancy. Babcock’s own life ended tragically at the age of 42 due to a bacterial infection called brucellosis while on his way home from a trip to Israel, a vacation that was gifted to him by his church. His wife collected and published many of his writings after Babcock died. The beautiful 16 stanza poem expressing Babcock’s own immense pleasure of God’s creation and his trust in the sovereign rule of God over all things, “This Is My Father’s World” was among them.
This is a fairly well known song, but even seasoned hymn lovers may not recognize verse three of this month’s hymn. Babcock’s original poem was composed of 16 four-line couplets. Hymnals today use only six of those couplets, creating three full stanzas. In researching the hymn and its full version, I found a few of those couplets completely irresistible, thus creating verse three: “This is my Father’s world, from His eternal throne, He watch doth keep when I’m asleep, and I am not alone. This is my Father’s world, His love has filled my breast, I am reconciled, I am His child, my soul has found His rest.” (Don’t you love it?!!!!!!) As a mama with children who often struggle with nighttime loneliness and the general transition to REST time, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to plant this truth in their hearts and give them something to sing and think about when the opportunity arrises.
Perhaps some of you are wondering about a missing portion of this hymn that is often sung instead of the last portion of verse 4. Hymnals go back and fourth with which of Babcock’s couplets to use for the last verse. Some finish verse four with “This is my Father’s world; The battle is not done: Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and Heav’n be one.” We chose to stick with, “This is my Father’s world! Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!”
HOW WE DO HYMN OF THE MONTH
If you are new to this community, welcome! It is a great time to join in and make family worship a priority if you haven’t already. You may or may not be familiar with this hymn. Either way, we invite you to spend this month meditating on its truths.
To get you started, we’ve provided free printable lyrics, music and copywork — all found here!
Also, you can find fresh versions of the hymn on our YouTube channel that you and your family can sing along with. There are loads of fresh versions of our favorite hymns on our hymn of the month playlist.
When we began singing hymns with our littles about 10 years ago, we kept it simple… We prayed and sang one hymn together every night at bedtime for a whole month. Everyone’s family rhythm is different, so we welcome you to gather up your families, for just a few minutes each day, to sing, discuss and memorize this hymn (following your daily time in the Scriptures and in prayer) whether it is first thing in the morning, or around the dinner table or before bedtime – whatever works best for your family. You can let us know how it’s going by posting either a video or a photo on Instagram. Just tag it with #happyhymnody! As always, if you have any questions or if you’d like to share your heart with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out! God bless you all this month as you worship and follow Jesus together as a family!
With so much love,