Words by: Johnson Oatman (1856-1922)
Music by: Edwin O. Excell (1851-1921)
"Count your Blessings" has always been a best-loved thanksgiving song. This beautiful hymn was written by Johnson Oatman. Jr., and composed by Edwin Excell who created the tune for the hymn.
Rev. Johnson Oatman, Jr., born on 21st April 1856, near Medford, New Jersey, was one of the important and prolific gospel song writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a child Oatman Junior became acquainted with the hymns of the church through the singing talents of his father.
Aged 19, Oatman joined the Methodist Church and years later, granted a license to preach in local Methodist congregations. His mainstream career was in a mercantile business and later as administrator for a large insurance company in New Jersey. At the same time, he wrote over 5,000 hymn texts.
"Count your Blessings" is generally considered to be Oatman's finest hymn. It first appeared in Songs for Young People, compiled and published by Edwin O. Excell in 1897. It has been sung all over the world. One writer has stated, "Like a beam of sunlight it has brightened up the dark places of the earth."
"Count Your Blessings" was received most overwhelmingly in Great Britain. The London Daily, in giving an account of a meeting presided over by Gypsy Smith, reported, "Mr. Smith announced the hymn 'Count Your Blessings.' He said, "In South London the men sing it, the boys whistle it, and the women rock their babies to sleep on this hymn." During the revival in Wales it was one of the hymns sung at every service.
It is good for each of us periodically to take time to rediscover the simple but profound truths expressed by Mr. Oatman in the four stanzas of this hymn.
Hymns of Glorious Praise, Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1969.
Johnson Oatman (1856-1922) Edwin O. Excell (1851-1921)
LYRICS: Count Your Blessings
1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, And you will keep singing as the days go by.
3. When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; Count your many blessings. Money cannot buy Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
4. So, amid the conflict whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.