Addison’s Appeal for Gratitude - 1712
Saturday, August 9, 1712 English essayist Joseph Addison published an article on gratitude in his magazine the Spectator, followed by a new hymn. This selection quotes from both the article and the hymn. Some lines of the hymn anticipate Newton’s “Amazing Grace.”
“If Gratitude is due from Man to Man, how much more from Man to his Maker? The Supream Being does not only confer upon us those Bounties which proceed more immediately from his Hand, but even those Benefits which are conveyed to us by others. Every Blessing we enjoy, by what Means soever it may be derived upon us, is the Gift of him who is the great Author of Good, and Father of Mercies.
“If Gratitude, when exerted towards one another, naturally produces a very pleasing Sensation in the Mind of a Grateful Man; it exalts the Soul into Rapture, when it is employed on this great Object of Gratitude; on this Beneficent Being who has given us every thing we already possess, and from whom we expect every thing we yet hope for.
When all thy Mercies, O my God,
My rising Soul surveys;
Transported with the View, I’m lost
In Wonder, Love, and Praise:
O how shall Words with equal Warmth
The Gratitude declare
That glows within my ravish’d Heart?
But thou canst read it there.
Through hidden Dangers, Toils, and Deaths,
It gently clear’d my Way,
And through the pleasing Snares of Vice
More to be fear’d than they.
Thy bounteous Hand with worldly Bliss
Has made my Cup run o’er,
And in a kind and faithful Friend
Has doubled all my Store.
Through every Period of my Life
Thy Goodness I’ll pursue;
And after Death in distant Worlds
The Glorious Theme renew.
When Nature fails, and Day and Night
Divide thy Works no more,
My Ever-grateful Heart, O Lord,
Thy Mercy shall adore.
Through all Eternity to Thee
A joyful Song I’ll raise,
For oh! Eternity’s too short
To utter all thy Praise.”
Spectator No. 453.