The Story Behind Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow
Thomas Ken studied at Winchester College, Hart Hall, and New College, Oxford, England. Ordained in the Church of England in 1662, he served as a pastor, chaplain at Winchester College (1669-1679), chaplain to Princess (later Queen) Mary in The Hague, and bishop of Bath and Wells (1685-1691).
He was a man of conscience and independent mind who did not avoid conflicts with royalty. When King Charles II came to visit Winchester, he brought along his mistress, the famous actress Nell Gwynne. Ken was asked to provide housing for her. The tale is told that Ken quickly announced his house was under repair and had a builder take off the roof! He later was dismissed from the court at The Hague when he protested a case of corruption. Later in 1688, Bishop Ken declined to read King James II's Declaration of Indulgence in the churches, which endowed greater religious freedom in England, and he was shortly imprisoned in the Tower of London. A few years later he refused to vow allegiance to King William, and he lost his bishopric.
Ken wrote many hymns, which were published posthumously in 1721 and republished in 1868 as Bishop Ken's Christian Year, or Hymns and Poems for the Holy Days and Festivals of the Church. But he is best known for his morning, evening, and midnight hymns, each of which has as its final stanza the famous doxology “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow.”
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