Spirit & Heritage In Song – ‘This Is My Father’s World’ – 1901


Spirit & Heritage In Song is a series highlighting Traditional American Music.

In the last half century many of these traditional songs have been forgotten in a flood of contemporary music and international cultural influences. Yet these songs, ballads, melodies and hymns reflect the events, cultural backgrounds, aspirations, land and faith that make up the soul of the American People far more than the strains of moderne music that have washed upon the nation’s shores. This series is offered as a reminder of the Spirit of America as given voice in song.


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This Is My Father’s World

An American Christian hymn, a continued favorite of young and old world round for over a hundred years expressing praise for the manifold wonders of Creation and worship of its Creator, as well as redeeming love through God’s Son.

Nature and its perfect orders has inspired writers through psalms and song for thousands of years, most eloquently expressed in the Bible Old Testament and in Christian music. Some of the best know religious music reflecting the manifest wonders of the Creator come from English, Irish, Scottish and American authors.




Maltbie Davenport Babcock

This is My Father’s World is a well-known Christian hymn written by Maltbie Davenport Babcock, a minister from New York. The piece was published after his death in 1901 at age 42. The poem was set to music by Franklin L. Sheppard, who apparently did not want to call attention to himself and signed using his initials rearranged as “S.F.L.” Most sources state that Sheppard adapted the music from a traditional English melody. Wikipedia

Maltbie Babcock (August 3, 1858 – May 18, 1901), a pastor in Lockport, New York, enjoyed hiking in an area called “the escarpment”-an ancient upthrust ledge near the city. Heading out on such walks, he often proclaimed that “I am going out to see my Father’s world.” And from his vantage point on the escarpment, he had a beautiful view of God’s creation indeed; from the greens of farms and orchards to the blues of Lake Ontario.

Niagara Escarpment

It’s said that these walks inspired the words to “This Is My Father’s World.” Babcock’s lovely hymn was not published, however, until after his untimely death in 1901. At that time his wife, Catherine, collected and published many of his writings, including the poetry to “This Is My Father’s World.”

Franklin L. Sheppard, a friend of Babcock’s, composed the hymn melody, Terra Beata, after his death. The hymn was first published in Alleluia, a Presbyterian songbook for children, published in 1915. The Center For Church Music


Contemplations on “This Is My Father’s World” and the natural world.

The BioLogos Forum
Of hymns that speak to a Christian understanding of the natural world and our place within it, perhaps none more familiar than Maltbie Babcock’s “This Is My Father’s World.” Written by the Lockport, New York pastor as a poem before the turn of the 20th century, published posthumously by his wife in 1901, and appearing in a hymnbook in 1915 as three stanzas set to an adapted English tune by Franklin L. Sheppard, it has been recorded by various stars of the contemporary Christian music scene in addition to being widely sung in local congregations. Read more >>

Further reading:

A Favorite Hymn: “This Is My Father’s World”


A stroll through the woods, a mountain hike, a nap on the beach-in such encounters with nature we often find peace. There’s just something about the leaves, rocks, and sand that makes us feel at home in this world. They release us from the humdrum of our busy lives and bring us back to the basics of life. Read more >>


This Is My Father’s World – 2nd Chapter of Acts


This Is My Father’s World – Glad


這是天父世界 (This is my Father’s World)


See other songs of the American Spirit in History and at Music



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: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

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.


Plow & Hearth


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