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Sunday, May 29, 2005


Maltbie D. Babcock attended Syracuse University and Auburn Theological Seminary. Heranked high as a student and participated in both athletic and musical activities. Tall, broadshouldered, and muscular, he was president of the baseball team, an expert pitcher, and agood swimmer. He played several musical instruments, directed the school orchestra, andplayed the organ and composed for it. He was a singer and leader of the glee club. He coulddo impersonations, was clever at drawing, and had a knack with tools. He was also an avidfisherman. He might have become a professional musician had he not chosen the ministry.

After almost 14 years in Baltimore, Babcock was called to the prestigious pastorate of theBrick Presbyterian Church in New York City, to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of HenryVan Dyke. Babcock had been there only 18 months when he made a trip to the Holy Land.While overseas, he died of brucellosis.Though Babcock published nothing during his life, his wife Catherine collected and publishedmany of his writings after his untimely death.

A volume of his poems contained This Is MyFather’s World. Babcock, of course, never heard his famous hymn sung.This hymn is taken from a sixteen-verse poem written by the Rev. Maltbie D. Babcock andpublished in 1901. The first line of each of the sixteen stanzas began with “This is my Father’s world.” However, as one writer has noted, “This hymn is more than a mere outburst of songabout nature, but rather a seasoned appreciation, beautifully worded, of unfailing trust in theways and judgements of God. In the hymn Babcock portrays the message of God’sPresence, God’s Personality, God’s Power, and God’s Purpose.

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.

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.

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!

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.

I ope ‘ my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.

”This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,

The Beloved One, His Only Son,Came—a pledge
of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?

The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.

This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,

For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.

No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.

In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.

This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam

Whate’er my lot, it matters not, My heart is still at home.

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