He Shines in All That's Fair - Maltbie D. Babcock

Presbyterian minister Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1858-1901) lived a short life on this earth, all of his works were published posthumously, but what a treasure one can find in reading them.

One of his most famous compositions was originally written as a poem (“My Father’s World”), but was later, in 1915, set to music as a hymn (“This Is My Father’s World”) by his friend Franklin L. Sheppard. First published in Thoughts For Every-Day Living from the Spoken and Written Words of Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1901), it is a beautiful expression of the wonder of God’s creation and a reminder that God is on the throne over this world. It was inspired in part by the view from his regular hikes along the Niagara Escarpment. Before leaving on such hikes he would often tell his secretary, “I’m going to see my Father’s world.”

The original poem is comprised of sixteen stanzas of four verses each. Sheppard’s hymn-version contains three stanzas of six verses each. Sheppard’s version is given below, but take time to peruse the original poem in Thoughts For Every-Day Living, which is a remarkable collection of devotional thoughts filled with many other precious gems. One line from Babcock’s poem is also highlighted in 2001 book by Richard Mouw, He Shines in All That’s Fair: Culture and Common Grace.

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;
oh, let me not 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.