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CHRISTIAN HYMNS

 

 

1.                                                    ALMOST PERSUADED

        The hymn, “Almost Persuaded,” was suggested to P. P. Bliss after hearing a sermon by Mr. Brundage, who, as he finished his discourse, said, “He who is almost persuaded is almost saved, and to be almost saved is to be entirely lost.”

             

"Almost persuaded" now to believe;

"Almost persuaded" Christ to receive:

Seems now some soul will say,

"Go, Spirit, go Thy way;

Some more convenient day

On Thee I'll call."

 

2..                                               AM I A SOLDIER OF THE CROSS

        Isaac Watts, who wrote this hymn, was the father of hymn-writing in the English language. He was born in England. His father was not a member of the state church, and was twice thrown into jail for opposing it, so that when he was a baby his mother often carried him in her arms to visit his father in prison.

        He became a minister in London. He was a little man, only about five feet tall. His health was very poor all his life, but his church took loving care of him, for he was greatly liked.

        Early in life he became wearied with the versified Psalms which the churches used and set out to compose hymns of his own. This was a new departure and met with persistent opposition, but his hymns soon became widely popular in nearly all the churches.

        This hymn was written by Dr. Watts in 1709, to follow a sermon on 1 Cor. 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like me, be strong.”

Am I a soldier of the cross,

A follower of the Lamb

And shall I fear to own His cause

Or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies

On flowery beds of ease?

While others fought to win the prize,

And sailed through bloody seas?

—Lindsay Terry

 

3.                                                    BLESSED ASSURANCE

    

        “Blessed Assurance” was composed by Mrs. Joseph Knapp, an amateur musician, wife of the founder of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and a close personal friend of Fanny Crosby.

              One day Mrs. Knapp played a melody for the blind poetess and asked, “What does this tune say?” Fanny responded immediately, “Why, that says: ‘Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine.”

 

Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

 

4.                                                    BREAK THOU THE BREAD OF LIFE

       

        Miss Mary Artemisia Lathbury, the author of this beautiful hymn, was born in Manchester, N.Y., August 10, 1841, the daughter of a Methodist minister.

        She was a woman of great beauty of character, and everyone loved her that came to know her. Her expressive face and gentle, modest bearing had a peculiar charm.

        This hymn was written for the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, and Miss Lathbury called it “A Study Song.” It’s lovely reference to the Sea of Galilee is made doubly interesting when one remembers that the hymn was written beside the beautiful Lake Chautauqua, New York.

Break Thou the bread of life,

Dear Lord, to me,

As Thou didst break the loaves

Beside the sea;

Beyond the sacred page

I seek Thee, Lord;

My spirit pants for Thee,

O Living Word!

 

5.                                                                   DAY BY DAY

       

        The waves of revival that swept the Scandinavian countries during the latter half of the nineteenth century were greatly influenced by the wealth of fine hymns which flowed from the pen of Lina Sandell, born on October 3, 1832, in Sweden. She was a daughter of the pastor of the parish church of that community. When she was twenty-six years of age, she accompanied her father on a journey to Gothenburg, but tragedy occurred before the destination was reached. The ship gave a sudden lurch and Lina’s father fell overboard and drowned before the eyes of his devoted daughter.

        Many songs began to flow out of her broken heart which reflect a simple child-like trust in Christ and deep sense of His abiding presence in her life, including “Day By Day.”

 

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

 

6.                                                              DOES JESUS CARE?

        Frank E. Graeff was a minister in the Methodist denomination and served some of its leading churches, in the Philadelphia Conference. Throughout the district, he was known as the “sunshine” minister.

        In spite of his outwardly-cheery disposition and winsome personality, Graeff was often called upon to go through severe testing experiences in his life.

        It was while passing through such a test and experiencing severe despondency, doubt and physical agony, that Mr. Graeff wrote this hymn, “Does Jesus Care?” He turned to the Scriptures for solace and strength. First Peter 5:7 became especially meaningful to him during this particular struggle: “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”

        The phrase, “He careth for you,” spoke deeply to his need. To experience times of questions and even doubts regarding the nearness of God, as Frank Graeff did in the verses of this hymn, is only human and normal. It is only as a believer comes through such a struggle, however, with the firm conviction as Mr. Graeff did in the chorus of this hymn, “O yes He cares, I know He cares,” that a child of God can be truly victorious.

 

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
 As the burdens press,
 And the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?


7.                                                                  FACE TO FACE

        A pastor, his wife, and Grant Tullar had made their last call on the sick one afternoon in 1898. They hurried to the home of the pastor, wanting to have a bit of supper together before going to the evangelistic meetings that were in progress. Tullar was assisting in those revival services.

        In their hurry to get supper on the table, someone failed to fill the jelly dish. There was only a small bite left. The pastor and his wife knew that Tullar was very fond of the jelly, so they both refused it. As the dish was passed to him, he exclaimed, “So this is all for me, is it?”

        Suddenly, the thought occurred to him that “All for Me” was a good title for a song. He placed the jelly dish back on the table and immediately excused himself, went to the piano, and composed a melody and wrote several verses.

        Before going to bed that evening, Tullar promised the pastor and his wife that he would revise the work somewhat. He never did, because the next morning the postman brought to him a letter from a lady, Mrs. Frank A. Beck. Enclosed were several poems. After reading the very first poem, he became suddenly aware that it exactly fitted the music that he had written the night before and entitled “Face to Face.”

        This song has won the hearts of thousands of people around the world because it so wonderfully speaks of our anticipation in seeing Christ one day, face to face.

Face to face with Christ my Savior,

Face to face what will it be?

When with rapture I behold Him,

Jesus Christ who died for me.                        — Lindsay Terry

 

8.                                                                FILL MY CUP, LORD

      

        Life was never to be a bed of roses for Richard Blanchard. A severe lung problem developed, and Blanchard was left with one-third of his lung capacity. But a diminished physical well-being did not stop young Blanchard.

        In 1953, he became the pastor of a church in Coral Gables, Florida, and one day, was asked by a young couple to perform their marriage ceremony. However, the couple was quite late for their counseling appointment.

        Blanchard told his secretary, “I will wait for thirty minutes and I’m leaving.” He then went to a nearby Sunday school room and sat down to play the piano for a while.

        He later said, “When I was not in the mood to be used of God, God was in a mood to use me.” In less than thirty-minutes, as he waited for the young couple, God gave him the inspiring song “Fill My Cup, Lord.”

Like the woman at the well, I was seeking

For things that could not satisfy.

And then I heard my Savior speaking:

“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

As Richard Blanchard looks back over his life, he declares “even though God chose in his providence to impair my physical being, he has in so many other ways ‘Fill’d My Cup.’ ”

 

9.                                     GOD LEADS HIS DEAR CHILDREN ALONG

 

        Haldor Lillenas, founder of a noted music-publishing company, made his way to the United States from Scandinavia. His first years in this country were hard, but a kind lady befriended him and taught him the English language.

        More importantly, perhaps, she told him the story of Christ and led him to know the Savior in his heart. Many times, she sang to him a comforting song entitled “God Leads His Dear Children Along.”

        Years later, he began thinking about the song that had been so meaningful to him in his youth and decided to find out something about its writer, C.A. Young. He discovered that the songwriter had passed away, but that his widow was living in a nearby town.

        Haldor drove out to the little town and found her in a poor house. His excitement mounted as she told him this story:

        “My husband and I were married while we were very young. God gave us a wonderful life together; he led us from day to day. We had so much of Jesus. But then God took my husband. Now God has led me here, and I’m so excited and glad about it! God has used me in this place. Isn’t it wonderful that God leads his children day by day and step by step?

        “Many people come to this place and they are so sad and in such great need. They need help and comfort. I have been able to cheer many of them and lead scores of them to the Lord Jesus Christ. How thankful I am that God has brought me to this place, where I can be of so much help to these people!”

        Haldor Lillenas was deeply moved by Mrs. Young’s words and excited that he had found more than just a story behind a gospel song. He had found a Christian woman completely surrendered to God’s will for her life.

        Some through the waters, some through the flood,

        Some through the fire, but all through the blood;

        Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,

        In the night season and all the day long.                                                          —Lindsay Terry

 

10.                                                       GOD UNDERSTANDS

     

        A young grocery chain executive parked his car on the edge of a treacherous two-hundred-foot cliff at the edge of the Pacific Ocean some twenty-five miles south of San Francisco. Devil’s Slide, it was called, and to Bill Mansdoerfer it seemed an appropriate place to plan suicide.

        The next morning alone in his home, burdened with sin and guilt, the desire to take his life gripped him again. In the midst of writing a suicide note, on impulse, he went to the hi-fi and turned it on. It was turned to K.E.A.R.

        What happened next has been described by doubters as a mere coincidence but to Bill Mansdoerfer it is looked upon as a miracle, a divine appointment. From the radio he heard:

God understands your heartache,

He knows the bitter pain;

O, trust Him in the darkness

You cannot trust in vain.

God understands your sorrow,

He sees the falling tear,

And whisper, “I am with thee,”

Then falter not nor fear.

        The song was being sung by Flo Price and it was written by Dr. Oswald J. Smith.

        Comments Bill, “If that had been a preacher, I would have turned him off, but that song...it broke me.”

        Bill telephoned K.E.A.R.’s Station Manager. Without any preliminaries, he blurted out, “Thank God, your station is on the air. You just saved my life.”

              That broadcast and phone call resulted in more than that. During the next six months, the station kept in touch with Bill, and finally offered him a job as Public Relations Director. Today he not only is the Station Manager of K.E.A.R., but as Director of Communications and Operations, he is a vital part of the six-station family radio network.

 

11.                                            GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU

        This was written on a Sunday afternoon by a pastor’s wife. She was very ill and in bed, but her husband had to go to a meeting. He was reluctant to leave her. She said, “Don’t worry, God will Take care of you.”

        While her husband was away, she thought of the wonderful truths in her own words, and wrote this poem. Her husband returned.

 

Be not dismayed whate'er betide,
  God will take care of you!
Beneath His wings of love abide,
  God will take care of you!

God will take care of you,
Through every day o'er all the way;
He will take care of you;
  God will take care of you!

 

12.                                             GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

    

        Of the many gospel hymns written on the theme of God’s goodness and faithfulness, this hymn stands out like a beacon of light. While many hymns are born out of a particular dramatic experience, this hymn was simply the result of the author’s morning by morning realization of God’s personal faithfulness.

        Thomas Obadiah Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. Without the benefit of high school or advanced training, he began his career as a school teacher at the age of sixteen, in the same country schoolhouse where he had received his elementary training.

        When he was twenty-one, he became the associate editor of his home town weekly newspaper, The Franklin Favorite. Six years later he accepted Christ as his personal Savior during a revival meeting.

        Later Chisholm was ordained to the Methodist ministry but was forced to resign after a brief pastorate because of poor health. Chisholm retired in 1953 and spent his remaining years at the Methodist Home for the Aged, in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

        In a letter dated 1941, Mr. Chisholm wrote,

              “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me until now, although I must not fail to record the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”

 

"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

 

"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
 Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
 "Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

 

13.                                        HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING

        One of the most famous of Charles Wesley’s hymns is the Christmas carol “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” written in 1738, about one year after his conversion. It is almost impossible to pick up a church hymnal today and find it omitted.

        It is said that no other man swayed the minds of the people of England as did John Wesley. Yet, the sermons of John are silenced and forgotten in England today, while the songs of his brother Charles are heard and sung around the world. Probably none is so familiar as:

Hark! the herald angels sing,

Glory to the new-born King;

Peace on earth, and mercy mild;

God and sinners reconciled.

 

14.                                                     HAVE THINE OWN WAY, LORD

       

        A simple expression, prayed by an elderly woman at a prayer meeting one night, was the source of inspiration that prompted the writing of this popular consecration hymn, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” in 1902.

        The author of this hymn text, Adelaide A. Pollard, was herself experiencing “distress of soul” during this time. It appears that it was a period in her life when she had been unsuccessful in raising funds to make a desired trip to Africa for missionary service.

        In this state of discouragement, she attended a little prayer meeting one night and was greatly impressed with the prayer of an elderly woman, who omitted the usual requests for blessings and things, and simply petitioned God for an understanding of His will in life.

        Upon returning home that evening, Miss Pollard mediated on the story of the potter, found in Jeremiah 18:3-4.

        “Then I went to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.”

        Before retiring that evening, Adelaide Pollard completed the writing of all four stanzas of this hymn as it is sung today.                                        —Kenneth Osbeck

 

Have Thine own way, Lord,
  Have Thine own way;
Thou art the Potter,
  I am the clay.
Mould me and make me
  After Thy will,
While I am waiting,
  Yielded and still.


15.                                                         HEAVEN CAME DOWN

        The Montrose Bible Conference Grounds in Montrose, Pennsylvania, has been the sight of many wonderful Christian experiences, but seemingly none quite so far-reaching as in the summer of 1961.

        John W. Peterson says, “During one of the sessions an opportunity for a time of personal testimonies was given the audience, and Old Jim rose to his feet and told of his conversion experience. In describing that night when he met Christ, he used the phrase ‘It seemed like Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.’ Right away I sensed that it would be a fine title for a song, so I wrote it down and later in the week completed the song. It became a favorite almost immediately.”

        The song born that day in 1961 has blessed the hearts of people all over America as well as on the mission fields worldwide.

        John W. Peterson has written more than one thousand songs and fifteen cantatas that have sold more than three million copies. But this song is one of the most beloved among Christians.

O What a wonderful, wonderful day—Day I will never forget;

After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.

O what a tender compassionate friend

He met the need of my heart;

Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling,

He made all the darkness depart!

 

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,

When at the cross the Savior made me whole;

My sins were washed away,

And my night was turned to day.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

 

16.                                                       HE HIDETH MY SOUL

        

              This hymn is unique in that it was a poem written to fit the tune. Kirkpatrick brought the music to Fanny Crosby, asking her to write a poem to fit his music. She, the blind musician who wrote 8000 music, did!

 

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
  A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
  Where rivers of pleasure I see.

 

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
  That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
  And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

 

17.                                                                       HE LEADETH ME

    

        Joseph H. Gilmore, the writer of this beloved hymn, tells his story:

        “I had been speaking at the Wednesday evening service of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Corner of Broad and Arch Streets, about the 23rd Psalm, and had been especially impressed with the blessedness of being led by God.

        At the close of the service we adjourned to Deacon Watson’s pleasant home where we were being entertained. During our conversation the blessedness of God’s leading so grew upon me that I took out my pencil, wrote the hymn just as it stands today, handed it to my wife, and thought no more of it.

        She sent it without my knowledge to the Watchman and Reflector magazine, and there it first appeared in print.

        Three years later I went to Rochester, New York, to preach as a candidate for the Second Baptist Church. Upon entering the chapel I took up a hymnbook, thinking, “I wonder what they sing.” The book opened up at “He Leadeth Me,” and that was the first time I knew that my hymn had found a place among the songs of the church.

        The writer’s father was the governor of the state of New Hampshire. He graduated from the Newton Theological Seminary in 1861. Throughout his lifetime he pastored several Baptist churches, served as a secretary to his father the governor, was a professor of Hebrew at Newton Seminary, and later at Rochester. Although Gilmore was highly respected both in religious and educational circles, he is best remembered for this hurriedly written text when he was just 28 years of age and a visiting supply preacher in Philadelphia.

He leadeth me! O blessed thought!

O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!

Whate’er I do, where’er I be,

Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

 

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,

By His own had He leadeth me;

His faithful foll’wer I would be,

For by His hand He leadeth me

 

18.                                                                        HE LIVES

   

        “Why should I worship a dead Jew?”

        This challenging question was posed by a sincere young Jewish student who had been attending evangelistic meetings conducted by the author and composer of this hymn, Alfred H. Ackley.

        Mr. Ackley’s answer to this searching question, ultimately prompted the writing of this popular gospel hymn, “He Lives.”

        The composer answered his inquirer: “He lives! I tell you, He is not dead, but lives here and now! Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before. I can prove it by my own experience, as well as the testimony of countless thousands.”

        Mr. Ackley’s forthright, emphatic answer, together with his subsequent successful effort to win the man for Christ, flowered forth into song and crystallized into a convincing sermon in hymn on “He Lives!”

        So he sat down at the piano and voiced that conclusion in song. He says, “The thought of His ever-living presence brought the music promptly and easily.”

 

I serve a risen Savior
  He's in the world today.
I know that He is living,
  Whatever men may say.


I see His hand of mercy;
  I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
  He's always near.

 

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

 

19.                                                   HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW

    

        Mrs. William Stillman Martin had experienced the protecting hand of the Lord during an illness. The incident was so precious to her that she wrote the song, “God Will Take Care of You.”

        Once she visited a friend, and related her story and hoping in some way to help relieve the friend’s depressed state. After hearing the story, the friend said, “You know, I shouldn’t worry, should I? We are promised in the Bible that God watches over the little sparrows.” They then had a little time of rejoicing over God’s wonderful watchful care and protection.

        When she arrived home, Mrs. Martin sat down and penned the song:

Why should I feel discouraged?

Why should the shadows come?

Why should my heart be lonely,

And long for heav’n and home,

When Jesus is my portion?

My constant Friend is He;

His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me,

       His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.

 

20.                                                             HOW GREAT THOU ART

  

        This great hymn has a history that stretches back over a hundred years. The original song was written by a young Swedish preacher, Carl Boberg, and first published in 1886, under the title “O Store Gud.” Boberg wrote a poem, not meaning to write a hymn, but later heard it being sung to an old Swedish tune.

        More than forty years later, an English missionary, Stuart Hine, first heard the song in Russia. He and his young wife were missionaries to the Carpathian area of Russia, then a part of Czechoslovakia. There, they heard a very meaningful hymn that was a Russian translation of Carl Boberg’s “O Store Gud” (O Great God).

        While ministering in the Carpathian Mountains, Hine found himself in the midst of a threatening storm. The thunder, as it rolled through the mountain range, was so awesome that it reminded Hine of the beautiful Russian hymn that had already become so dear to him. English verses began to form in his mind, verses that were suggested by portions of the Russian translation.

        “How Great Thou Art” is probably the all-time favorite hymn today. Although its origin had roots in Europe, it was not widely known until 1957, when the Billy Graham Crusade in New York City launched it on a never-ending spiral around the world. It was performed nearly a hundred times during those meetings and countless times ever since.

O Lord my God!

When I in awesome wonder,

Consider all the works [worlds]

Thy hands have made,

I see the stars,

I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout

The universe displayed.

 

Then sings my soul,

My Savior God to Thee;

How great Thou art!

How great Thou art!

Then sings my soul,

My Savior God to Thee;

How great Thou art!

How great Thou art!

 

21.                                             HOW THE “MESSIAH” WAS WRITTEN

       

        One bitterly cold winter of 1741, Handel received a package in his lodging. It contained a text made up of Scripture from his friend Charles Jennens:

        “Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people, saith your God...Behold! A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us...and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God...”

        Excitedly, he read on. “He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows...I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth...King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Hallelujah!”

        Handel rushed to the piano with pencil in hand and began to write the music to the immortal Messiah. For two weeks, he labored incessantly. He saw no one and refused food and sleep.

        At last he finished the great oratorio. Tears were streaming down his face, as he said: “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.”

        The composition was first heard in Dublin where it was an overwhelming success. Then in London, where the King rose to his feet at the great “Hallelujah Chorus,” and the audience followed his example. Today, audiences all over the world still rise and remain standing during this Chorus.

        Later, George Frederick Handel became poor and blind. But he never permitted his misfortunes to overcome his spirit.

 

 22.                                                         I’D RATHER HAVE JESUS

       

        Forty years ago Bev Shea was attending the Bible School in Ottawa (Ontario) where I was teaching. He loved to sing. After more training in New York City he was given an audition at one of the radio stations and was offered a contract. He asked that he might sing Gospel songs. He was told that he might use one occasionally, but he would have to use the songs on the Hit Parade. What would he do? His mother was praying.

        On Saturday night she placed a poem on the piano. In the morning he composed a tune for it. One verse was: “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold: I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame; I’d rather be true to His holy Name!” Bev turned down the contract. A short time later he was offered a position with a Chicago radio station where he might use the Gospel songs he loved. While there he met Billy Graham. The rest of the story is well-known.

—R. Barclay Warren

 

        It was in the thirties. Business curves were still heading downward and there was rumor of a salary cut at the New York insurance office where twenty-two-year-old Beverly Shea was employed as a clerk. Possessor of a deep melodious voice, the young man was offered a radio contract and immediately saw opportunities for fame and possible riches in his regular appearance on a secular program.

        He had been pondering the matter for several days when he sat down to the piano early one Sunday morning to rehearse a hymn he was to sing in church that morning. As he played and sang his eyes fell on a piece of paper, on which was written:

        I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold

        I’d rather be His than have riches untold!

        The poem, by Mrs. Rhea Miller, had been placed where Beverly would see it by his mother, a minister’s wife, who knew of the offer her son was pondering. Above all, she wanted her son, a Christian, to become wholly consecrated to his service.

        As his eyes raced over the words, the sentences “I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause” and “I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame” struck his very heart. His fingers unconsciously left the tune he was rehearsing and began to find this melody which is today known to millions.

—Earl C. Willer

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Refrain:
Than to be the king of a vast domain,
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

 

23.                                                I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY

       

        A young girl who devoted her life to Sunday school work fell seriously ill at age 30. During her convalescence, she wrote a long poem which contains the words of this hymn. Also from this long poem is taken another hymn, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story!”

 

I love to tell the story
   Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
   Of Jesus and His love.


I love to tell the story,
   Because I know 'tis true;
It satisfies my longings
   As nothing else can do.

 

I love to tell the story,
'Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
   of Jesus and His love.

 

 24.                                                                I SURRENDER ALL

     

        For five years, Mr. Van de Venter wavered between the challenge of the Gospel ministry and that of becoming a recognized artist. Here is how he tells it:

        “For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all.

        “A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord. He caused me to sing.”

        Dr. Billy Graham, wrote this tribute to Mr. Van de Venter:

        “One of the evangelists who influenced my early preaching was also a hymnist who wrote ‘I Surrender All’—the Rev. J.W. Van de Venter. He was a regular visitor at the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity Bible College) in the late 1930s. We students loved this kind, deeply spiritual gentleman and often gathered in his winter home at Tampa, Florida, for an evening of fellowship and singing.”

 

 All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

 

I surrender all,
   I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
    I surrender all.

 

 25.                                           I WILL SING THE WONDROUS STORY

  

        Francis H. Rowley has given the following account for the writing of this hymn:

        “I was minister of the First Baptist Church of North Adams, Massachusetts in 1886. The church and community were experiencing a period of unusual interest in religious matters, and I was assisted by a remarkable young Swiss musician by the name of Peter Bilhorn.

        “One Sunday following the evening service he said, ‘Why don’t you write a hymn for me to set to music?’ During the night these verses came to me. The original poem began ‘Can’t You Sing the Wondrous Story?’

              “However, when the song was first published by Ira Sankey in 1887, the phrase was changed to ‘I Will Sing...’”

 

I will sing the wondrous story
   Of the Christ who died for me,
How He left His home in glory
   For the cross of Calvary.

 

Yes, I'll sing the wondrous story
   Of the Christ who died for me,
Sing it in the light of glory,
    Sing it through eternity.

 

26.                                                               JESUS LOVES ME

        Without doubt the hymn that has influenced children for Christ more than any other is this simply stated one, “Jesus Loves Me,” written in 1860 by Anna Bartlett Warner. Miss Warner wrote this text in collaboration with her sister, Susan, as a part of one of the best-selling novels of that day, a novel written by Susan entitled Say and Seal.

        Today few remember the plot of that novel, which stirred the hearts of many readers. But the simple poem spoken by one of the characters, Mr. Linden, as he comforts Johnny Fax, a dying child, still remains the favorite hymn of children around the world to this day.

        Anna and Susan Warner were highly educated and deeply devoted Christian young women who lived all of their lives along the Hudson River in New York, in a lovely but secluded area apart from the busy world.

        Their home was near the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and for a number of years these two sisters conducted Sunday School classes for the young cadets. Their home, Good Crag, was willed to the Academy and made into a national shrine.

        Both sisters were buried with military honors in recognition of their spiritual contributions to the lives of the young military officers.                                     —Kenneth Osbeck

 

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

 

Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
The Bible tells me so.

 

 27.                                                                     JUST AS I AM

 

        Charlotte Elliott’s brother, Rev. Elliott, was planning the building of a school for daughters of clergymen. The author was then 45 years old, ill of health, and could not help. A special program had been scheduled to help in the fund-raising.

        That night she could not sleep and started doubting if she would be useful to the Lord. The next day, everyone went to the program and she was left alone.

        As she thought of her weakness, she realized that since salvation was not of works, her Christian life was also to be by faith and trust, that God accepts the weakest person. And taking up her pen, she wrote this hymn of commitment.

 

        Probably the most widely used song of consecration today is “Just As I Am.” It has been called the world’s greatest soul-winning hymn.

        Its author, Charlotte Elliot, was an invalid most of her life. Many times her weakened condition caused her great lamentation. Such was the case in 1836, when her brother, H.V. Elliot, was raising funds for St. Mary’s Hall at Brighton, England, a college for the daughters of poor clergymen.

        Charlotte wanted to have some little part but was hindered by reason of her infirmity. As she pondered how she could help the cause, Charlotte decided to write a poem relevant to others who were physically limited. She remembered the words of a great preacher, Caesar Malton, who had talked to her fourteen years before. He had told her to come to Jesus, “just as you are.”

        The resulting poem was published without Charlotte’s name and was handed to her one day in leaflet form by her doctor, who did not realize that she was its author. Tears streamed down her face as she read the six verses and was told that copies of this poem were being sold and the money given to St. Mary’s Hall. Miss Elliott then realized that she had at last made a significant contribution to the building of the school through the medium of her words of faith and humility:

Just as I am, without plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me

And that thou bidd’st me come to Thee

O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

 

 Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,

Because Thy promise I believe,

O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

 

 28.                                            “LET THE LOWER LIGHTS BE BURNING

        Philip Paul Bliss was directing the singing for a series of services being conducted by the well-known preacher Dwight L. Moody. As he closed his message, Moody told the story of a captain who was attempting to bring his boat to the Cleveland harbor one very dark and stormy night.

        “The waves rolled like mountains,” Moody said, “and not a star was to be seen in the clouded sky.” He pictured the boat rocking on the violent waves as the captain peered through the darkness for the sight of a signal light by means of which to guide his vessel to safety. When he finally spotted a single light from the light-house, he turned to the pilot and asked, “Are you sure this is Cleveland harbor?”

        “Quite sure, sir,” the pilot replied.

        “Then where are the lower lights?” the captain continued.

        “Gone out, sir,” the other man answered.

        “Can you make the harbor?” the captain asked anxiously.

        “We must, or perish, sir,” the pilot replied.

        But despite his strong heart and brave hand, in the darkness he missed the channel. With a resounding crash the boat piled up on the rocks and then settled slowly to a watery grave.

        As the congregation listened intently, Moody concluded with this admonition to the Christians, “Brethren, the Master will take care of the great light-house; let us keep the lower lights burning.” That was all Bliss needed to pen one of his most popular hymns, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.”

 

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy,
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

 

Refrain:
Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor struggling, fainting seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

 

29.                                                         “LORD, I’M COMING HOME

        William J. Kirkpatrick was born in 1838. This man not only a marvelous lyricist, but his musical settings for poems written by others have afforded us such favorites as “Jesus Saves” and “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”

        William J. Kirkpatrick was a Methodist choir director and organist, and he especially loved the Methodist camp meetings. During one such meeting, at which he directed the music, he became quite burdened because the invited soloist would sing and then immediately leave, without hearing the sermon.

        After a couple of days of this, Kirkpatrick prayed fervently that God would somehow reach this young man with the gospel of Christ. He feared that the singer had never really known Christ as Savior.

        As a result, God gave a beautiful song to William Kirkpatrick, which he asked the soloist to sing during an evening service of the meetings. He did so, and he was so convicted in his heart as he sang the words that he decided to stay and hear the sermon.

        Following the sermon, the singer knelt at the altar and was gloriously converted.

        Nineteen years later, at age eighty-three, Kirkpatrick was sitting up late, working on a music composition. His wife awakened and noticed that the lights were still on in his study. After calling out to him and hearing no response, she went quickly to his study and found him slumped over his last musical offering. He had gone peacefully home to his Lord.        —Lindsay Terry

I've wandered far away from God,

  Now I'm coming home;
The paths of sin too long I've trod,
  Lord, I'm coming home.

 

Coming home, coming home,
  Nevermore to roam;
Open wide Thine arms of love;
    Lord, I'm coming home.

 

30.                                                           “MAKE ME A BLESSING

       

        George Shuler and Ira Wilson were roommates at Moody Bible Institute in 1924. There they combined their talents and gave the world a beautiful song of consecration, “Make Me A Blessing.” Wilson wrote the lyrics and Shuler the music.

        At first the song was rejected by music publishers, so Shuler had one thousand copies printed to distribute on his own. One fell into the hands of George Dibble, an outstanding singer who was at that time music director for the International Sunday School Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Dibble asked for permission to use the song and it was granted. Soon people everywhere were singing the song, and publishers were wanting to distribute copies.

        Between the time Ira Wilson wrote the lyrics and the time the song began to be so well known, Wilson apparently forgot that he was the author. Until he died, he never remembered that he had written these famous words:

 

Out in the highways and byways of life,
  Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
  Making the sorrowing glad.

 

Make me a blessing, make me a blessing,
Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,
   Make me a blessing to someone today.                                                                 Lindsey Terry

 

  

31.                                                          “MORE LOVE TO THEE”

  

        The hymn, “More Love to Thee,” was written by Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss during a time of great personal sorrow.

        While ministering to a church in New York City during the 1850s, the Prentiss’ lost a child. Then a short time later their youngest child also died.

        For weeks, Elizabeth was inconsolable, and in her diary she wrote, “Empty hands, a worn-out, exhausted body, and unutterable longings to flee from a world that has so many sharp experiences.”

        From her broken heart came this touching poem:

One child and two green graves are mine,

This is God’s gift to me;

A bleeding, fainting, broken heart,

This is my gift to Thee.

        During this period of grief, Mrs. Prentiss began meditating upon the story of Jacob in the Old Testament, and how God met him in a very special way during his moments of sorrow and deepest need. She prayed earnestly that she too might have a similar experience. (cf: Genesis 28:11-19)

        While she meditated, she began writing all four stanzas that same evening; but evidently she did not think very highly of her work, for she never showed the poem to anyone, not even her husband, for the next thirteen years.

 

More love to Thee, O Lord,
  More love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make
  On bended knee;


This is my earnest plea:
  More love, O Lord, to Thee,
More love to Thee,
  More love to Thee!


32.                                              MY FAITH LOOKS UP TO THEE

       

        The author of “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” wrote this song, “all on fire when he wrote it,” and carried it nearly a year in his pocket.

        One day Mr. Masson met him and said, “Mr. Palmer, you write verses sometimes; I want a new hymn. Won’t you write one for me? Dr. Palmer took the hymn from his pocket and said, “If this will do, you can have it!”

        A few days after Mr. Mason said to him, “Doctor, you may live to write a great many hymns, but you will never write the equal of the one you gave me the other day.” And Mr. Mason was right.

 

My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior Divine;

   Now hear me while I pray;
Take all my guilt away;
Oh, let me from this day

Be wholly Thine.


33.
                                                        “NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE”

   

        Benjamin Flower was an English journalist. Some considered him too radical for his times. He was imprisoned for six months. An English girl, whom he later married, frequently visited him in prison. Their daughter was Sarah Flower (later Adams). She was brilliant and had varied talents. Because of poor health, she dismissed all thoughts of a career she had long dreamed about. She began to write. In the field of writing she gained her greatest achievement. The hymn, “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” will immortalize her as long as time lasts. It is said to be the greatest hymn ever written by a woman.

 

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
   Nearer to Thee;
E'en though it be a cross
  That raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
  Nearer to Thee.


34.
                                        “NO ONE CARED FOR ME LIKE JESUS

        One night, while going through a period of great stress of soul, brought on by a domestic problem, Dr. Charles F. Weigle sat down at the piano with this thought in mind: “Jesus knows all about us and he truly cares for us more than any other.”

        He had a short time earlier walked down to the pier near his home and had for a few faltering seconds thought that he could end his personal torment by jumping into the gulf of Mexico. Something had stopped him.

        Now, back at the house, his hands fell on the keys and he began to play and sing. In about twenty minutes a great song was born.

        Charles Weigle has written more than four hundred songs; several have become very popular among Christians everywhere, perhaps none more beloved than this one:

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus.

Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true;

I would tell you how he changed my life completely,

He did something that no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus,

There’s no other friend so kind as He;

No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,

O’, how much He cared for me.

 

35.                                                   “O FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES”

   

        John and Charles Wesley, while students at Oxford University, formed a religious “Holy Club” because of their dissatisfaction with the spiritual lethargy at the school. As a result of their methodical habits of living and studying, they were jokingly called “methodists” by their fellow students. Upon graduation these young brothers were sent to America by the Anglican Church to help stabilize the religious climate of the Georgia colonies and to evangelize the Indians.

        Following a short and unsuccessful ministry in America, the disillusioned Wesleys returned to England, where once again they came under the influence of a group of devout Moravian believers meeting in Aldersgate, London. In May, 1738, both of these brothers had a spiritual heart-warming experience, realizing that though they had been zealous in the Church’s ministry, neither had ever personally accepted Christ as Savior nor had known the joy of their religious faith as did their Moravian friends. From that time the Wesleys’ ministry took on a new dimension and power.

        Both John and Charles were endued with an indefatigable spirit, usually working fifteen to eighteen hours each day. It is estimated that they traveled a quarter of a million miles throughout Great Britain, mostly on horseback, while conducting more than 40,000 public services. Charles alone wrote no less than 6,500 hymn texts, with hardly a day or an experience passing without its crystallization into verse.

        “O For a Thousand Tongues” was written in 1749 on the occasion of Charles’s eleventh anniversary of his own Aldergate conversion experience. It is thought to have been inspired by a chance remark by Peter Bohler, an influential Moravian leader, who exclaimed, “Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ Jesus with all of them.” The hymn originally had nineteen stanzas and when published was entitled, “For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion.”

O for a thousand tongues to sing,

My great Redeemer’s praise,

The glories of my God and King,

The triumphs of His grace.                                                                          —Kenneth Osbeck

 

36.                                          “ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS”

       

        This hymn was written by a pastor. At that time, the custom in town was for the children to march from one town to another with banners. The pastor wanted the children to sing a hymn as they went. Since nothing was suitable, he wrote one himself—late the night before the march!

        He wrote more than 60 books in the British Museum, but was most remembered as the author of “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

 

Onward Christian soldiers!
  Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
  Going on before.
Christ, the royal Master,
  Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
  See, His banners go!

 

Onward, Christian soldiers!
  Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus,
    Going on before.

 

 37.                                                                 “ROCK OF AGES”

   

        Toplady, even when he wrote his magnificent masterpiece, the “Rock of Ages,” could not resist the temptation to give a thrust at those who, he insisted, were believers in “Perfectionism.” So he entitled his hymn, when he printed it, “A living and dying prayer of the holiest believer in the world.” This is as much as if he had said, “The most sanctified soul in the world must come down on his knees and confess, ‘Nothing in my hands I bring,’ and ‘Vile I to this fountain fly.’ ”

—Walter Baxendale

 

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and power.


38.
                                        “SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER?”

 

        In July 1864, Robert Lowry, a Baptist minister, was tired and began thinking of future things, of the gathering of the saints around God’s throne. He began to wonder why so many had written so much of the “river of death” and so little of the “river of life.”

        A hymn began to take form, first as a question, “Yes, we’ll gather at the river?”

        Then came the answer, “Yes, we’ll gather at the river.” With his heart full of these thoughts, he seated himself at his parlor organ, and both the words and the music of the famous hymn came to him as if by inspiration. Soon, the words and music to this famous hymn were completed.

        There is nothing on earth more restful than the banks of a winding river. And God has placed a river in heaven, a beautiful crystal river that will make glad the hearts of all God’s children someday.

Shall we gather at the river,

Where bright angel feet have trod;

With its crystal tide forever,

Flowing by the throne of God?

Chorus:

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,

The beautiful, the beautiful river,

Gather with the saints at the river,

That flows by the throne of God.

 

 39.                                                                   “SILENT NIGHT”

       

        In the Austrian village of Hallein on Christmas Eve 1818, the organist, Franz Gruber, composed a hymn called Song of Heaven and played and sang it in church the following night. A man from a nearby town happened to hear the song and, being impressed, memorized the words and music which he later taught to a traveling quartet.

        By 1854, the piece had become so famous that a search was made for its unknown composer and Gruber was found. He then learned that his song had been “memorized,” sung for 36 years and had become the most beloved Christmas hymn of all time under another name—Silent Night.

        At that late date, the fact meant little to Franz Gruber, who was then 67, and he remained an obscure and impoverished organist until his death in 1863.

 

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

 

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

 

40.                                                 “SOFTLY AND TENDERLY”

   

        Will L. Thompson was born at East Liverpool, Ohio. His father, Josiah Thompson, was a member of the Ohio State Legislature. Young Thompson attended the Boston Music School and did additional musical study in Germany. After a very successful career of writing secular music, Thompson turned his talents to writing gospel hymns.

        His business earned him a sizable income in his lifetime, yet he was always known as a kind, quiet and unassuming Christian gentleman, greatly loved and admired by his associates. Thompson was also known for his travels by horse and buggy from one small community to another throughout Ohio singing his songs to people everywhere.

        This particular hymn was one of D.L. Moody’s favorites. It is said that on his deathbed while being visited by Mr. Thompson, Moody feebly whispered, “Will, I would rather have written ‘Softly and Tenderly’ than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.”

        This hymn was widely used as an invitation hymn in the great evangelistic meetings conducted by Moody and Sankey throughout Great Britain and in America.

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,

Calling for you and for me.

See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,

Watching for you and for me.

 

Come home, come home

Ye who are weary, come home;

Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling

Calling, “O sinner, come home!”

 

41.                                               “SOME GOLDEN DAYBREAK”

   

        While preaching on the radio on the subject of the second coming of Christ, the Rev. C.A. Blackmore was outlining some of the marvelous things that would happen to Christians at the Rapture.

        A lady who had been bedridden for twenty-three years heard the message and wrote, “Will I really be well? Will all pain and sorrow actually be gone?”

        Blackmore replied; “Yes, my friend, some glorious day, when Jesus comes, you will leap from that bed with all the vigor of youth and never know pain again.”

        Blackmore’s son, Carl, was greatly impressed with the reality of this coming event. As he pondered the glorious prospects, the words and melody of a chorus took form in his mind, and he said to his father: “Dad, you should write some verses for this chorus.”

        After much prayer, early one morning, unable to sleep as he anticipated the thrill of the rapture, the elder Blackmore rose from his bed and wrote the verses of “Some Golden Daybreak.” As the song became know, it grew in popularity, until today it is used almost by all the leading publishers of gospel songs.

Some golden daybreak, Jesus will come;

Some golden daybreak, battles all won;

He’ll shout the vict’ry, break through the blue;

Some golden daybreak, for me, for you.

 

42.                                                             “SO SEND I YOU”

      

        The text of “So Send I You,” sometimes called “the finest missionary hymn of the twentieth century,” was written by a young Canadian, E. Margaret Clarkson, then 22.

        Born in Saskatchewan, Margaret Clarkson grew up in Toronto. Jobs were so scarce that she had to spend seven years in the far north of Ontario, first in a lumber camp, then in a gold-mining area, before returning to teach for 31 years in Toronto, retiring in 1973.

        “In the north,” she says, “I experienced deep loneliness of every kind—mental, cultural and particularly, spiritual—I found no Bible-teaching church fellowship, and only one or two isolated Christians, in those years.

        “Studying the Word one night and thinking of the loneliness of my situation, I came to John 20, and the words ‘So send I you.’ Because of a physical disability I could never go to the mission field, and this was where He had sent me. I had written verse all my life, so it was natural for me to express my thoughts in a poem.

        “Some years later I realized that the poem was really very one-sided; it told only of the sorrows and privations of the missionary call and none of its triumphs. I wrote another song in the same rhythm so that verses could be used interchangeably, setting forth the glory and the hope of the missionary calling. This was published in 1963. Above all I wish to be a biblical writer, and the second hymn is the more biblical one.”

       

So send I you to labor unrewarded,

To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,

To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing

So send I you to toil for Me alone.

 

43.                                                   “STANDING ON THE PROMISES”

  

        A believer’s stability for this life as well as his confidence for eternity rests solely on the written promises of God’s Word. It is this reminder of a Christian’s daily dependence upon the promises of God that has made this straight-forward, rhythmical gospel hymn a favorite with God’s people for the past century.

        “Standing on the Promises” was written and composed, in 1886, while Russell Carter was serving as a professor in the Pennsylvania Military Academy, a school in which he had been a member of the first graduating class. The rhythmic martial tone of the hymn’s music possibly reflects Mr. Carter’s military academy experience.

—Kenneth Osbeck

 

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I'm standing on the promises of God.

 

44.                                                                “SWEET BY-AND-BY”

       

        The gifted Christian musician Joseph T. Webster was often tormented by deep feelings of depression. On one occasion, when he was in a melancholy mood, he received a visit from his close acquaintance Fillmore Bennett.

        Knowing that one way to keep Webster from brooding over his problems was to interest him in writing a hymn tune, Bennett decided he’d try to pen some lyrics that would direct his friend’s thoughts heavenward. The despondent man himself unwittingly supplied the theme, for when he was asked, “What’s the matter now?” he replied, “Oh, it will be all right by and by!”

        “That’s true,” exclaimed Bennett, “trials do generate great glory for us in the sweet by-and-by!”

        Inspired by this thought, he immediately sat down and wrote several poetic verses on the subject. When his friend read them, a new look of hope came into his eyes, and his whole attitude changed. After jotting down some musical notes, Webster took up his violin and played the melody he had composed to fit the words. Within half an hour the enduring hymn “In the Sweet By-and-By” was born.

 

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

 

Refrain:
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

 

 45.                                                      “SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER”

        One day, according to Pastor Salmon, Mr. Walford recited several poems which he had composed. He could not get anyone to write them down, so Mr. Salmon did so. One poem was the four-stanza rhyme which is now known as “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”

—Robert S. Wilson

 

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

 

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

 

46.                                             “TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE”  

        Frances Ridley Havergal, born on December 14, 1836, England, is often referred to as “the consecration poet.” It has been said that the beauty of a consecrated life has never been more perfectly revealed than in her daily living.

        Throughout her brief life Miss Havergal was frail and delicate in health, yet she was an avid student, writer and composer. She learned several modern languages as well as Greek and Hebrew.

        “Take My Life and Let It Be” was written by Miss Havergal in 1874. She has left the following account:

        “I went for a little visit of five days. There were ten persons in the house; some were unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer, ‘Lord, give me all in this house.’

        “And He just did. Before I left the house, everyone had got a blessing. The last night of my visit I was too happy to sleep and passed most of the night in renewal of my consecration, and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another ’til they finished with ‘ever only, ALL FOR THEE!’”

        Her prayer, “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold,” was not lightly stated.

        In August, 1878, Miss Havergal wrote to a friend:

        “The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me...I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”

 

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.


47.
                                                 TELL ME THE OLD, OLD STORY

        This simple but beautiful song was written by an English woman, Miss Katherine Hankey, the daughter of a banker in London. Miss Katherine Hankey was recovering from a serious illness when she wrote “Tell me the old, old story,” and the line, “For I am weak and weary,” was only a picture of her condition at the time. The poem was begun in January, but it was not finished ’til November of that year.

        Here is the way the song was set to music.

        Dr. Doane, the well-known composer, attended in 1867, an international convention of the Young Men’s Christian Associations, held in Montreal. In the audience was Major-General Russell in charge of British troops quelling the riots over the question of Ireland.

        General Russell rose, and read Miss Hankey’s beautiful poem, as tears streamed down his cheeks. Dr. Doane was also much impressed by the hymn, and obtained a copy of the words.

        Afterward, in a stage-coach in the White Mountains, with the grand scenery all around him he wrote the music.

Tell me the old, old story

Of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory,

Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story simply,

As to a little child.

For I am weak and weary,

And helpless and defiled.

 

48.                                                  I HAVE FOUND A FRIEND IN JESUS

       

        The soloist was singing in a high-pitched voice, well beyond her vocal range.

        She came to the phrase: “He is the fairest of ten thousand,” and her voice broke as she came to the “ten.”

        Undaunted, she tried again, but met with no greater success the second time.

        “Give me my note again,” she requested of the pianist, and made a frantic third attempt.

        “Lady,” someone in the audience called, “I don’t think you’re gonna make it. Don’t you think you’d better start over again and try for one thousand this time?”

 

I've found a friend in Jesus, He's everything to me,
  He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Apple-tree of trees, in Him alone I see
  All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He's my comfort, in trouble He's my stay,
  He tells me every care on Him to roll:
He's the Apple-tree of trees, the Bright and Morning Star,
  He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

 

49.                                                            THE LOVE OF GOD

       

        Frederick M. Lehman, author and composer, wrote a pamphlet, in 1948, entitled “History of the Song, The Love of God.” It tells about the origin of this beloved hymn—

        While at camp-meeting in a mid-western state, some fifty years ago in our early ministry, an evangelist climaxed his message by quoting the last stanza of this song. The profound depths of the line moved us to preserve the words for future generations.

        Not until we had come to California did this urge find fulfillment, and that at a time when circumstances forced us to hard manual labor. One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pencil, added the (first) two stanzas and chorus of the song.

        Since the lines (3rd stanza from the Jewish poem) had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum, the general opinion was that this inmate had written the epic in moments of sanity.

        Actually, the key-stanza (third verse) under question as to its authorship was written nearly one thousand years ago by a Jewish songwriter, and put on the score page by F.M. Lehman, a Gentile songwriter, in 1917.

 

        The beloved hymn “The Love of God” had its roots in a long Jewish poem written in the eleventh century in Germany.

        The Jewish poem, Hadamut, in the Aramaic language, has ninety couplets. The poem itself is in the form of an acrostic. It was composed, in the year 1096, by Rabbi Mayer, son of Isaac Nehorai, who was a cantor in the city of Worms, Germany.

        The Hadamut poem also speaks of a certain miracle. There are three opinions as to the contents of this miracle.

        The first opinion is that the miracle was the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Incidentally, it is for this reason that the poem is still read on the first day of the Feast of Shavuot before the reading of the Ten Commandments.

        The second opinion simply states that we really cannot know with certainty, from the references, what the actual miracle was.

        The third opinion believes that the miracle took place in the city of Worms, home of the rabbi-poet. It is thought that there was a medieval, German priest who once spoke evil of the Jewish community.

        The king called upon the Jews of the city to produce a representative to argue and defend themselves against the priest. If the Jewish spokesman was successful, then the Jewish community would be spared mass genocide. But if the anti-Jewish priest proved successful, then all of the Jewish community of Worms would be put to death.

        The story has a happy ending, as the Jewish representative was successful in the defense of their faith, and the community of Worms was spared.

        Throughout the poem, the theme of God’s eternal love and concern for His people is evident. One section of this poem, from which the present third stanza of “The Love of God” was evidently adapted, reads as follows:

 

The love of God is greater far
  Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
  And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
  God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
  And pardoned from his sin.

 

O love of God, how rich and pure!
  How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
  The saints' and angels' song.                                                             —Kenneth Osbeck

 

50.                                          THE NINETY AND NINE

       

        In 1874, Sankey and Moody held revivals in Scotland. Once on a train Sankey bought a newspaper to find news of America, but was disappointed. He threw it down, later picked it up and in a corner he saw a poem. He liked it and read it to Moody, who was absorbed in reading letters from Chicago.

        The next day at noon, Moody’s topic was “The Good Shepherd.” Moody suddenly asked Sankey to sing something. “But if I sing Psalm 23, every Scotsman would join in,” he thought. Then a voice said, “Sing the hymn you found on the train.” But there was no melody to that poem!

        Placing the clipping on the organ, and after a brief pause of urgent prayer, Sankey began singing. Note by note, the tune came out. At the end of the first stanza, a difficulty arose: would the tune be the same? It came out the same for the second stanza. And that hymn has come to us today—without change.

        When Sankey stopped singing, a great sigh arose from the congregation, “Rejoice! for the Lord has found His sheep!”

 

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
  In the shelter of the flock,
But one was out on the hills away,
  Far off in the cold and dark;
Away on the mountains wild and bare,
Away from the tender Shepherd's care.

 

"Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
  Are they not enough for Thee?"
But the Shepherd made answer: "This of Mine
  Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep."

 

51.                                                 THE OLD TIME RELIGION

       

        Shortly after the Civil War in America, a Methodist minister and his wife were blessed with the birth of a son. When the boy became a teenager, he left home to make his way in the world. His fondest dream was to become a concert singer, but he never fulfilled his ambition. He took a job peddling songbooks, and later made his living by going around the countryside in a wagon demonstrating pianos for a local firm.

        At the age of 25 he began to realize that his worldly goals would not be achieved and that even their complete attainment could never satisfy his deepest longings. Convicted by the Holy Spirit of having drifted far from his early training, Charlie Tillman received Christ as his Savior and spent the rest of his life singing and working for the Lord.

        One day while passing through South Carolina, he heard a group of Negro worshippers chanting a lilting tune. He quickly jotted down the simple words and melody, for they spoke to him of his own conversion experience. Few today remember Charlie Tillman, but almost everyone has heard of “The Old Time Religion.”                                               —Henry G. Bosch

 

I believe in the old-time religion,
For it saves from all sin here below,
Gives me peace passing all understanding,
While the river of pleasure doth flow.

 

Refrain:
Oh, give me the old-time religion,
Oh, give me the joy I can know;
I believe in the old-time religion,
As our fathers received long ago.


52.                                       THERE IS A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD

       

        When a large religious service was being conducted at the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco, many people quickly became aware that the minister delivering the main address was not thoroughly orthodox. Although a gifted speaker, he began to direct most of his eloquence against the power of the blood of Christ.

        Ruth E. Marsden relates that when his fluent oratory ended, a timid, elderly lady stood up in the midst of the crowd and softly began to sing a great hymn by William Cowper as a touching rebuttal to the modernist’s remarks. A hush fell over the assembly as they heard those faint but familiar words: “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”

        Before she could begin the second stanza, approximately a hundred people rose to join her. By the time she reached the third verse, nearly a thousand Christians all over the audience were singing that blessed song of faith. The triumphant, thrilling strains rang out loud and clear: “Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power, ’til all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more.” Many were deeply moved as that humble believer stood up for her Lord and with the light of Heaven upon her face.

 

There is a fountain filled with blood
  Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
  Lose all their guilty stains:
  Lose all their guilty stains,
  Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
  Lose all their guilty stains.

 

The dying thief rejoiced to see
  That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
  Wash all my sins away:
  Wash all my sins away,
  Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
  Wash all my sins away

 

53.                                             TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS

       

        “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” was written by a most remarkable woman, Louisa M. R. Stead, out of one of her darkest hours—the tragic drowning of her husband.

        Louisa Stead was born in England. She felt the call of God upon her life for missionary service. She arrived in America in 1871. In 1875, Louisa married a Mr. Stead, and to this union was born a daughter, Lily. When the child was four years of age, the family decided one day to enjoy the sunny beach at Long Island Sound, New York.

        While eating their picnic lunch, they suddenly heard cries of help and spotted a drowning boy in the sea. Mr. Stead charged into the water. As often happens, however, the struggling boy pulled his rescuer under the water with him, and both drowned before the terrified eyes of wife and daughter.

        Out of her, “why?” struggle with God during the ensuing days flowed these meaningful words from the soul of Louisa Stead:

        ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

        Just to take Him at His word;

        Just to rest upon His promise;

        Just to know ‘Thus saith the Lord.’                                                         —Kenneth Osbeck

 

 54.                                            TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS

       

        The author and composer of this hymn, Helen H. Lemmel, relates that one day, in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled “Focused.” The pamphlet contained these words: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.”

        These words made a deep impression upon Helen Lemmel. She could not dismiss them from her mind. She recalls this experience following the reading of that tract:

        “Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.”                              —Kenneth Osbeck

 

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

 

 55.                                                                WHAT A FRIEND

       

        This was written by a young man for his mother who was ill. He tried to comfort and encourage her, and intended the poem just for her. No one knew about the words of this beloved hymn until a neighbor was visiting and found it.

        Born in Ireland, Joseph Scriven graduated from college and was engaged to a beautiful girl. On the eve of their wedding, the girl drowned. Overwhelmed with grief, he came to Canada and devoted his life to helping the underprivileged, giving them clothes and sharing his food. If anyone could afford his service, he would not work for them.

        In 1875, Sankey put up Gospel Hymns No. 1 and included it as the last one in the collection. But later, the last hymn became one of his favorites.

 

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
  All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
  Everything to God in prayer!


O what peace we often forfeit,
  O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
  Everything to God in prayer!

 

56.                                     WHEN THE ROLL IS CALLED UP YONDER

       

        James M. Black was a Sunday school teacher and president of the young people’s society in a church in Canada, when he was quite young himself.

        One evening at a consecration meeting, when each member answered the roll call by repeating a Scripture text, a girl failed to respond. This situation brought the thought to Black’s mind—although the thought was not theologically sound—that it would be a very sad thing if our names were called from the Lamb’s Book of Life in heaven and we should be absent.

        When Black reached his house, his wife saw that he was deeply troubled and questioned him about his problem, but he did not reply. In fifteen minutes a new song came to his mind. He then went to the piano and played the music just as you will find it in the hymnbooks today—note for note. It has never been changed.

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more,

When the morning breaks; eternal, bright and fair;

When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,

And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

 

57.                                                  WONDERFUL GRACE OF JESUS

       

        Haldor Lillenas was born in Norway. He immigrated to America as a child and lived in South Dakota for two years before settling in Astoria, Oregon.

        Mr. and Mrs. Lillenas traveled extensively throughout this country, conducting evangelistic meetings as well as furnishing songs and choir music for many of the foremost song leaders of that era.

        It was while pastoring the Church of the Nazarene at Auburn, Illinois, between 1916 and 1919, that Haldor Lillenas wrote “Wonderful Grace of Jesus.” He said:

        “In 1917, Mrs. Lillenas and I built our first little home in the town of Olivet, Illinois. Upon its completion, we had scarcely any money left to furnish the little home.

        Having no piano at the time, and needing an instrument of some kind, I managed to find, at one of the neighbor’s home, a little wheezy organ which I purchased for $5.00. With the aid of this instrument, a number of my songs, were written which are now popular, including ‘Wonderful Grace of Jesus.

        “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” was first published, in 1922, in the Tabernacle Choir Book, for which Mr. Lillenas was paid the grand sum of $5.00. Although we generally sing this hymn with an inspirational, brisk tempo, Mr. Lillenas often complained that most congregations sang the hymn too fast. “A song should be performed in such a fashion that the words can be comfortably pronounced without undue haste,” he often said.                                               —Kenneth Osbeck

 

Beneath the cross of Jesus
  I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock
  Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness,
  A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
  And the burden of the day.

 

58.                                                                  LEAVE IT THERE

    

              Charles A. Tindley is known as one of the "founding fathers of American Gospel music." The son of slaves, he taught himself to read and write at age 17. He was a driven young man, working as a janitor while attending night school, and earning his divinity degree through a correspondence course. In 1902, he became pastor of the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the church where he had earlier been the janitor. At the time of Tindley's death, his church had 12,500 members. The Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in Philadelphia was named after him.  Back in 1916 a fellow who was a constant worrier visited Tindley one day. After listening awhile, Tindley replied: "My advice to you is put all your troubles in a sack, take 'em to the Lord, and leave 'em there."  This humn has so many great thoughts, especially for those facing trials and for those of us who are worriers. What is the best thing you can do with those trials and worries? Take them to the Lord … and leave them there.   He also many other songs and among them are:  Nothing Between and We Understand it Better By and By.

If the world from you withhold of its silver and its gold,

And you have to get along with meager fare,

Just remember, in His Word, how He feeds the little bird;

Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Leave it there, leave it there,

Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out.

Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

 

59.                                            BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

             

              The words for this hymn first appeared in the February, 1862, issue of The Atlantic Monthly magazine and were published as the Civil War battle song of the Republic. The author, Julia Ward Howe, received the grand total of five dollars for her literary efforts. Mrs. Howe and her doctor husband had recently moved from Boston to Washington, D.C., where he was involved in medical service for the government. Julia became deeply anguished as she noted the growing angry mood of the nation and its frenzied preparations for the tragic war between the north­ern and southern states. Day after day Mrs. Howe watched the troops go by as they marched off to war and heard them singing the strains of "John Brown's Body"-named for a self-styled abolitionist who was hanged for his efforts to have the slaves freed.

              One day, while witnessing a parade of soldiers singing this catchy tune, a visiting friend and her former pastor, the Rev. James Freeman Clarke of Boston, turned to Mrs. Howe and said, "Why don't you write some decent words for that tune?" "I will," answered Mrs. Howe, and the words came to her that same evening. She has left the following account:

              I awoke in the grey of the morning, and as I lay waiting for dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to entwine themselves in my mind, and 1 said to myself, "I must get up and write these verses, lest I fall asleep and forget them!" Sol sprang out of bed and in the dimness found an old stump of a pen, which I remembered using the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.

              Soon the entire nation was united in singing, ' 'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.. ." rather than the many derisive phrases coined about "John Brown's Body." Julia Ward Howe's text, written in response to a challenge to make better words for an existing Southern American camp meeting tune, was destined for immortality.

              Julia Ward Howe was born on May 27, 1819, in New York City, into a wealthy family that had a distinguished lineage on both sides. Her ancestors were famous leaders in Revolutionary history. In 1848 she married the well-known humanitarian, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe.   After marriage Mrs. Howe became even more involved in her humanitarian pursuits. She was especially vehement in her opposition to slavery.   In 1910, just twelve days before her death, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Smith College for her life-long accomplishments.

              Although this Civil War hymn gave Mrs. Howe her first national acclaim, she was also known for other publications, including three vol­umes of poetry-Passion Flowers, 1854; Words of the Hour, 1856; and Later Lyrics, 1866. This remarkable woman was also the mother of four children, all of whom became eminently successful in fields of science and literature. Mrs. Howe continued her active life in causes of human betterment until her death in Newport, Rhode Island, on October 17, 1910, at the age of ninety-one.

              It is recorded that this hymn was sung at a large patriotic rally attended by President Lincoln. After the singer had finished, the audience re­sponded with tumultuous applause. The President, with tears in his eyes, cried out, "Sing it again," and it was sung again. It soon became ac­cepted as one of our finest national hymns, finding its way into almost every American hymnal. Its original purpose of serving as a battle song for the Northern Republic during the Civil War was soon forgotten.

 

Mine eyes have seen the glory

 of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage

where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning

of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

 

Refrain 1:
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

 

60.                                           BENEATH THE CROSS OF JESUS

             

              This meaningful hymn was written by a frail Scottish, Presbyterian woman of the past century, who, despite her physical frailties, was known throughout her community for her helpful, cheery nature. Elizabeth Cecilia Douglas Clephane, one of the few women hymn writers of Scotland, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, but grew up in Melrose, Scotland, in the lovely area of Abbotsford, near the old bridge described by the well-known Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott, in his book, The Abbot and the Monastery. Her father was a county sheriff, her mother a descendant of the famous Douglas family. Elizabeth was one of three sisters, but she was known as the delicate, retiring member of the family. 40 Yet within the limits of her strength she served the poor and sick of her community, and she and her sisters gave to charity all they did not actually require for their daily needs. Throughout the Melrose area Elizabeth was affectionately known to the townspeople as "the sun­beam." Elizabeth enjoyed writing poems and had several published In a Scottish Presbyterian Magazine entitled The Family Treasury. However, the majority of her writings appeared anonymously in this magazine in 1872, three years after her early death at the age of thirty-nine.

              "Beneath the Cross of Jesus" was written by Miss Clephane in 1868, one year before her death. It was not published, however, until 1872, when it appeared anonymously in The Family Treasury with several of her other poems. The original poem consisted of five stanzas, but today only three are used in most hymnals. It is obvious that Elizabeth, like most Scottish Presbyterians of her day, was an ardent Bible student for her hymn is replete with Biblical symbolism and imagery. For example, in stanza one:

 

Beneath the cross of Jesus
  I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock
  Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness,
  A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
  And the burden of the day.

 

61.                                            BLEST BE THETIE THAT BINDS

             

              John Fawcett was born of poor parents in Lidget Green, Yorkshire, England, in 1740. He was converted to Christ at the age of sixteen through the ministry of George Whitefield. At the age of twenty-six he was ordained as a Baptist minister. He accepted a call to pastor a small and impoverished congregation at Wainsgate in Northern England. After spending several years at Wainsgate where his salary was meager and his family growing, he received a call to the large and influential Carter's Lane Baptist Church in London to succeed the well-known Dr. Gill.

As the day for the scheduled departure from Wainsgate arrived, with the saddened parishioners gathered around the wagons, Mrs. Fawcett finally broke down and said, "John, I cannot bear to leave. I know not how to go!" ' 'Nor can I either,'' said the saddened pastor. The order was soon given to unpack the wagons.

              During one of his ensuing sermons Fawcett shared this hymn text with his congregation. The poem was first printed in 1782 under the title "Brotherly Love," in a collection containing 166 of Fawcett's poems.  Fawcett continued his faithful ministry to these humble people at Wainsgate for more than fifty years at a salary estimated at never more than $200.00 a year. Soon he became well-known as an outstanding preacher and scholar. In 1777 he opened a school for young preachers. In 1793 he was invited to become principal of the Baptist Academy at Bristol, England, but he declined the offer. He wrote a number of books on various aspects of practical Christianity, some of which had a very large circulation. In recognition of his ministry and accomplishments, Brown University in the United States conferred the Doctor of Divinity Degree upon him in 1811. Yet he remained with his beloved parishioners at Wainsgate until a paralytic stroke caused his death on July 25, 1817. John Fawcett's life can certainly be cited as an example of a spiritual leader who sacrificed ambition and personal gain for Christian devotion.

              The composer of the music, Hans G. Naegeli, was born on May 26, 1773, near Zurich, Switzerland. He was a music publisher and president of the Swiss Association for the Cultivation of Music. He was known as a pioneer in the field of music education. His progressive teaching methods had much influence on Lowell Mason, often called the father of public school and church music in the United States. The tune, "Dennis," originated in Switzerland and was later purchased by Lowell Mason while he was travelling and studying in Europe in 1837. The music first ap­peared in The Psaltery, edited hi 1845 by Mason and George J. Webb, with the notation, "arranged from H. G. Naegeli".

 

Blest be the tie that binds
  Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship our spirit finds
  Is like to that above.

 

Before our Father's throne,
  We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one—
  Our comforts and our cares.

 

62.                                                       COME, THOU FOUNT

             

              Robert Robinson was born of lowly parents in Swaffham, Norfolk, England, on September 27, 1735. His father died when Robert was eight, and at the age of fourteen he was sent by his mother to London to learn the barbering trade. Here for the next few years he was associated with a notorious gang of hoodlums and lived a debauched life. At the age of seventeen he attended a meeting where George Whitefield was preaching. Robinson and his friends went for the purpose of "scoffing at the poor, deluded Methodists." However, Whitefield's strong evangelistic preach­ing so impressed young Robinson that he was converted to Christ. Several years later he felt called to preach and entered the ministry of the 52 Methodist Church. Subsequently, he left the Methodist Church when he moved to Cambridge and became a Baptist pastor. Here he became known as an able theologian through his writing of many theological works as well as several hymns.               This hymn text, written when Robinson was only twenty-three years of age, contains an interesting expression in the second stanza, "Here I raise mine Ebenezer-Hither by Thy help I'm come." This language is taken from I Samuel 7:12, where the Ebenezer is a symbol of God's faithful­ness. An expression in the third verse, "Prone to wander-Lord, I feel it-Prone to leave the God I love," seems to have been prophetic of Robinson's later years, as once again his life became characterized by lapses into sin, unstableness, and an involvement with the doctrines of Unitarianism. The story is told that Robinson was one day riding a stagecoach when he noticed a woman deeply engrossed with a hymn book. During an ensuing conversation the lady turned to Robinson and asked what he thought of the hymn she was humming. Robinson burst into tears and said, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then."

              The tune, "Nettleton," was named for the Rev. Asahel Nettleton, noted American evangelist of the early eighteenth century. Its composer,  John Wyeth, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 31, 1770, was a printer and lay musician. This hymn first appeared in his hymnal, Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Songs, published in 1813.

 

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
  Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
  Call for songs of loudest praise.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
  Wand'ring from the face of God;
He, to save my soul from danger,
  Interposed His precious blood.

 

 63.                                                 COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

             

              This hymn certainly ranks as one of the most familiar numbers in our hymnals. It is one of the songs that many of us first sang with gusto during our early Sunday School days, yet one that we still enjoy singing in our gospel type of services. ,

Rev. Johnson Oatman, Jr., was one of the important and prolific gospel song writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was born near Medford, New Jersey, on April 21, 1856. As a child he became acquainted with the hymns of the church through the singing talents of his father.

              At the age of nineteen Oatman joined the Methodist Church and several years later was granted a license to preach in local Methodist congrega­tions. Though he wrote over 5,000 hymn texts, Oatman was busily en­gaged throughout his life in a mercantile business and later as an adminis­trator for a large insurance company in New Jersey. Other gospel favorites by Johnson Oatman include "Higher Ground" (101 More Hymn Stories, No. 35), and "No, Not One!"

"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."

              Perhaps no American hymn was ever received with such enthusiasm in Great Britain as this hymn. The London Daily, in giving an account of a meeting presided over by Gypsy Smith, reported, "Mr. Smith announced the hymn 'Count Your Blessings.' Said he, 'In South London the men sing it, the boys whistle it, and the women rock their babies to sleep on this hymn'.'" During the great revival in Wales it was one of the hymns sung at every service along with such Welsh favorites as "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" (No. 26) and "O That Will be Glory" (No. 70).

              The composer of the music, E. O. Excell, is a well-known name in early gospel hymnody. He was born in Stark County, Ohio, on December 13, 1851. At the age of twenty he became a singing teacher, traveling around the country establishing singing schools. For twenty years he was associated with Sam Jones, a well-known Southern revivalist. Excell was recognized as one of the finest song leaders of his day. In addition to writing and composing more than 2,000 gospel songs as well as publish­ing about fifty songbooks, he administered a successful music publishing business in Chicago. While assisting Gypsy Smith m an evangelistic campaign in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1921, he was suddenly stricken at the age of seventy and taken home to join the immortal heavenly chorus.

 

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.

 

  •                                                     HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION

             

              Throughout our country this hymn has been for many years one of the stalwart hymns in evangelical churches, especially the Baptists.

              The authorship of the text has always been a mystery to hymnologists. Its first appearance was in 1787 in a hymnal, Selection of Hymns, pub­lished by Dr. John Rippon, pastor of the Carter's Lane Baptist Church, London, England. Dr. Rippon was pastor of this important church for sixty-three years and was considered to be one of the most popular and influential dissenting ministers of his time. The hymn appeared anony­mously in his collection with the author indicated merely as "K-." Later reprints also gave "Kn," and one, "Keen." Since the music director in Dr. Rippon's church was named R. Keene, it has generally been thought that he was the author of the text.

              Rippon's hymnal was exceedingly popular immediately: eleven edi­tions were printed in England before the pastor's death in 1836, and an American edition was also printed by the Baptist Churches in Philadel­phia in 1820. This hymnal has often been called the "unofficial hymn textbook for Baptist Churches." "How Firm a Foundation" became well-known throughout our Northern and Southern States during the time of the Civil War and was included in most American publications of that time.

              The composer of this music is also unknown. It has been established that the tune is one of the sturdy folk tunes originating in the South. It first appeared in 1837 in William Caldwell's publication, Union Harmony.

              Like many of our fine hymns this text is really a sermon in verse. In the first stanza the sure foundation of the Christian faith is established as being the Word of God. This challenging question is posed: what more can God do than provide His very Word as a completed revelation of Himself to man? The succeeding verses personalize the precious promises from His Word:

              “How Firm a Foundation” has been a favorite hymn and testimonial of many of God's children throughout the years. It was the favorite of such American leaders as Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, who re­quested that it be sung at his bedside shortly before he died at the Hermit­age, as well as Robert E. Lee, who also requested it for his funeral hymn "as an expression of his full trust in the ways of the Heavenly Father!'

 

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

 

"Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.


65.                                                  I GAVE MY LIFE FOR THEE

             

              Francis Ridley Havergal, often referred to as “hymnody’s sweetest voice,” was born on December 14, 1836, at Astley, Worcestershire, England.  She was the youngest child of Rev. Willian Henry Havergal, a minister of the Church of England.  He, too, was a noted poet and church musician.  In addition to her natural talents, Miss Havergal had a thorough training in linguistics and music.  Although she was highly edu cated and cultured, Miss Havergal always maintained a simple faith and confidence in her Lord. It is said that she never wrote a line without first praying over it. Her entire life was characterized by spiritual saintliness. In spite of being always frail in health, she lived an active and productive life until her early death at the age of forty-three.

As part of her education, Frances studied in Dusseldorf, Germany. In the art gallery of that city hangs the famous painting by Sternberg, "Ecce Homo," a vivid portrayal of Christ, wearing his crown of thorns, before Pilate and the Jewish mob. Beneath the picture are the words, "This have I done for thee; what hast thou done for Me?"

              Upon visiting the museum and seeing the painting, Miss Havergal was profoundly moved. After gazing for a considerable time at the painting, she took a pencil and scrap paper and quickly drafted the stanzas for this hymn text. Later, when visiting her home in England, she again noted the text she had hurriedly scribbled, but she felt that the poetry wefs so poor that she tossed the paper into a stove. The paper, however, is said to have floated out of the flames and landed on the floor, where it was later found by her father. He encouraged her to keep the words and composed the first tune for the text.

              Frances R. Havergal is also author of the hymns "Take My Life and Let It Be" and "I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus".

              The present tune was composed for this text by the noted American gospel songwriter, Philip P. Bliss. It was dedicated to the Railroad Chapel Sunday School in Chicago, Illinois, and first appeared in Bliss's Sunshine for Sunday Schools, 1873.

 

I gave my life for thee,

My precious blood I shed

That thou might’st ransomed be,

And quickened from the dead;

I gave my life for thee-

What hast thou giv’n for Me?

 

And I have brought to thee,

Down from my home above,

Salvation full and free,

My pardon and my love;

I bring, I bring rich gifts to thee-

What hast thou brought to me?

 

66.                                                                   IN THE GARDEN

             

              It was in 1912 that music publisher Dr. Adam Geibel asked C. Austin Miles to write a hymn text that would be "sympathetic in tone, breathing tenderness in every line; one that would bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the weary, and downy pillows to dying beds."

              The author said these words:  “One day in March, 1912,1 was seated in the dark room, where I kept my photographic equipment and organ. I drew my Bible toward me; it opened at my favorite chapter, John 20-whether by chance or inspira­tion let each reader decide. That meeting of Jesus and Mary had lost none of its power to charm.

              As I read it that day, I seemed to be part of the scene. I became a silent witness to that dramatic moment in Mary's life, when she knelt before her Lord, and cried, "Rabboni!"

My hands were resting on the Bible while I stared at the light blue wall. As the light faded, I seemed to be standing at the entrance of a garden, looking down a gently winding path, shaded by olive branches. A woman in white, with head bowed, hand clasping her throat, as if to choke back her sobs, walked slowly into the shadows. It was Mary. As she came to the tomb, upon which she placed her hand, she bent over to look in, and hurried away.

John, in flowing robe, appeared, looking at the tomb; then came Peter, who entered the tomb, followed slowly by John.

              As they departed, Mary reappeared; leaning her head upon her arm at the tomb, she wept. Turning herself, she saw Jesus standing, so did I. I knew it was He. She knelt before Him, with arms outstretched and looking into His face cried "Rabboni!"

              I awakened in full light, gripping the Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision I wrote as quickly as the words could be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening I wrote the music”

 

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

 

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

 

 67.                                                   IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

             

              This beloved gospel song was written by a Chicago Presbyterian layman, Horatio G. Spafford, born in North Troy, New York, on October 20, 1828. As a young man Spafford had established a most successful legal practice in Chicago. Despite his financial success, he always main­tained a keen interest in Christian activities. He enjoyed a close and active relationship with D. L. Moody and the other evangelical leaders of that era. He was described by George Stebbins, a noted gospel musician, as a "man of unusual intelligence and refinement, deeply spiritual, and a devoted student of the Scriptures."

              Some months prior to the Chicago Fire of 1871, Spafford had invested heavily in real estate on the shore of Lake Michigan, and his holdings were wiped out by this disaster. Just before this he had experienced the death of his son. Desiring a rest for his wife and four daughters as well as wishing to join and assist Moody and Sankey in one of their campaigns in Great Britain, Spafford planned a European trip for his family in 1873. In November of that year, due to unexpected last minute business develop­ments, he had to remain in Chicago; but he sent his wife and four daughters on ahead as scheduled on the S.S. Ville du Havre. He expected to follow in a few days. On November 22 the ship was struck by the Lochearn, an English vessel, and sank in twelve minutes. Several days later the survivors were finally landed at Cardiff, Wales, and Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband, "Saved alone." Shortly afterward Spafford left by ship to join his bereaved wife. It is speculated that on the sea near the area where it was thought his four daughters had drowned, Spafford penned this text with words so significantly describing his own personal grief-"When sorrows like sea billows roll..." It is noteworthy, how­ever, that Spafford does not dwell on the theme of life's sorrows and trials but focuses attention in the third stanza on the redemptive work of Christ and in the fourth verse anticipates His glorious second coming. Humanly speaking, it is amazing that one could experience such personal tragedies and sorrows as did Horatio Spafford and still be able to say with such convincing clarity, "It is well with my soul."

              In his late life Spafford experienced a mental disturbance which promp­ted him to go to Jerusalem under the strange delusion that he was the second Messiah. He died there in 1888 at the age of sixty. Philip P. Bliss was so impressed with the experience and expression of Spafford's text that he shortly wrote the music for it, first published in one of the Sankey-Bliss Hymnals, Gospel Hymns No. Two, in 1876. Bliss was a prolific writer of gospel songs throughout his brief lifetime. In most cases he wrote both the words and music for his hymns. His songs, like most early gospel hymnody, are strong in emotional appeal with tunes that are easily learned and sung.

 

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
  When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say,
  "It is well, it is well with my soul!"

 

It is well with my soul!
It is well, it is well with my soul!

 

68.                                                             JESUS LOVES EVEN ME

             

              Philip P. Bliss was born in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, on July 9, 1838. His youthful days were spent on a farm in a lumber camp. He described his childhood as one of abject poverty. He was known as a large, awkward, overgrown boy. In 1850 he accepted Christ as his Savior and shortly thereafter joined the Cherry Flats Baptist Church of Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Early in life Bliss showed unusual talent for music. After a brief period of training, he moved to Chicago, where he became involved with Dr. George Root, conducting musical institutes and conventions throughout the West for nearly ten years. In 1874 Bliss was approached and challenged by evangelists D. L. Moody and Major Daniel W. Whittle to enter full-time evangelistic work with them. From this time until his untimely death two years later, Bliss's personal singing and song leadership were always outstanding features of any service in which he was engaged. His early home-going occurred when the train on which he and his wife were traveling from Pennsylvania to Chicago during the Christmas season overturned and plunged into a ravine, sixty feet below, killing 100 passengers.

              In addition to being known as a man with a commanding stature and an impressive public personality, Bliss was also highly regarded by his fel­low music colleagues. George C. Stebbins, also a noted gospel hymn writer of that era, wrote as follows:

              There has been no writer of verse since his time who has shown such a grasp of the fundamental truths of the gospel, or such a gift for putting them into a poetic and singable form.

              This hymn, "Jesus Loves Even Me," was written and composed by Bliss after attending a meeting where the hymn "O How I Love Jesus" was repeated frequently. The thought occurred to Bliss, "Have I not been singing enough about my poor love for Jesus and shall I not rather sing of His great love for me?" Under the impulse of this thought Philip Bliss composed this hymn, later to become one of the all-time favorite chil­dren's hymns. It became popular immediately in Great Britain as well as in this country.          The hymn was first published in Bliss's The Charm for Sunday Schools, 1871.

Other hymns by Philip P. Bliss include "Hold the Fort" , "I Gave My Life for Thee" , "It Is Well With My Soul" , "My Redeemer" , "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning", and "Once for All".

 

I am so glad that our Father in heav'n
Tells of His love in the Book He has giv'n;
Wonderful things in the Bible I see:
This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.

 

I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
  Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me;
I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
    Jesus loves even me.

 

69.                                                       MY COUNTRY, TIS OF THEE

             

              Samuel Francis Smith was one of the outstanding Baptist preachers and patriots of the past century. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 21, 1808. He was graduated from Harvard in 1829 and then studied for the ministry at Andover Theological Seminary, finishing in the same year that he wrote this hymn. He served with distinction several large Baptist churches throughout the East. In 1843 in cooperation with Barton Stow, Smith compiled a hymnal, The Psalmist, which became the most widely used Baptist hymnal in its day. Samuel Smith himsdlf com­posed 150 hymns during his lifetime. He was also editor of a missionary magazine, through which he exerted a strong influence in promoting the cause of missions. Later he became the Secretary of the Baptist Mission­ary Union and spent considerable time visiting various foreign fields. Smith was also recognized as an accomplished linguist in fifteen different languages, even beginning the study of the Russian language at the age of eighty-six, just one year before his death.

              One day the noted American music educator, Lowell Mason, gave to Smith for his perusal and interest a copy of a German patriotic poem, which was translated as "God Bless our Native Land." Samuel Smith, then only twenty-four years of age, was so moved by the thought that our young nation needed a similar stirring bit of verse that under an inspira­tional impulse he began writing this text on a scrap of waste paper. Within half an hour he finished what is generally considered to be our best-loved patriotic hymn. The present four stanzas have remained intact exactly as they were written on that original piece of paper. On the following July 4th Lowell Mason's children's choir from the Park Street Congregational Church of Boston sang this hymn for the first time at a Sunday School celebration in a nearby public park. It had an immediate response and soon became popular nationally. One of our eminent leaders of that era once paid this tribute to the hymn:

Strong in simplicity and deep in its trust in God, children and philosophers can repeat the hymn together. Every crisis will hear it above the storm.

              Though the text of the hymn is distinctively American, the tune is an international one. It is the official or semi-official national melody of about twenty nations, notably that of England where "God Save the King/Queen" has been sung for more than 200 years. The origin of the tune seems to go back deeply into the singing traditions of Europe. Traces of the tune have been found in Swiss music as early as the seventeenth century. It has also been found in the musical heritages of Germany, Sweden and Russia. Its first known publication was in a hymnal entitled "Thesaurus Musicus" in 1740. In 1841 one of the world's master com­posers, Ludwig Beethoven, wrote several interesting piano variations on this tune.

              Samuel Smith's text originally contained five stanzas- One of these verses was soon dropped, however, because of its strong anti-British sentiment. The existing four verses have since remained in common usage.

 

My country, 'tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty,

Of thee I sing;

Land where my fathers died,

Land of the pilgrims' pride,

From every mountainside

Let freedom ring!

 

My native country, thee,

Land of the noble free,

Thy name I love;

I love thy rocks and rills,

Thy woods and templed hills;

My heart with rapture thrills,

Like that above.

 

70.                                                                MY REDEEMER

             

              A shocking train accident caused the untimely death of Philip P. Bliss when he was only thirty-eight years of age. He had visited his old child­hood home in Rome, Pennsylvania, at Christmas time in 1876, and was returning to Chicago in company with his wife when a railroad bridge near Ashtabula, Ohio, collapsed. The train plunged into a ravine, sixty feet below, where it caught fire, and one hundred passengers perished miserably. Bliss survived the fall and escaped through a window. How­ever, he returned to the wreckage in an attempt to rescue his wife and in so doing perished with her in the fire.

              This hymn text by P. P. Bliss was found in his trunk, which had escaped damage in the accident. The tune was composed by James McGranahan shortly after Bliss's dealh, while McGranahan was in Chicago considering Major Whittle's invitation to replace Bliss as Whit­tle's song leader in his future evangelistic endeavors. The hymn had a great spiritual impact when it was first introduced to a large tabernacle audience in Chicago as Major Whittle related how the text had been found among Bliss's belongings. He told how James McGranahan had com­posed the music for this text and how that this musician would now continue the work begun by Bliss.

              The hymn first appeared in print in 1877 in Welcome Tidings, a new collection for Sunday schools, compiled by Robert Lowry, Wm. H. Doane, and Ira D. Sankey.

 

              Other hymns by Philip P. Bliss include "Hold the Fort", "1 Gave My Life for Thee", "It Is Well With My Soul", "Jesus Loves Even Me", "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" and "Once for All.

 

I know that my Redeemer lives
  And ever prays for me;
A token of His love He gives,
  A pledge of liberty.

 

I know that my Redeemer lives,
  A quick'ning Spirit He;
I know eternal life He gives—
  Amazing grace—to me.

 

71.                                          O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHELHEM

             

              This beloved Christmas carol is from the pen of one of America's outstanding preachers of the past century, Phillips Brooks. In his day he was often referred to as the "Prince of the Pulpit." His many published volumes of sermons have since become classics of American literature. He is said to have won the hearts of people with his preaching and writing as few clergymen have ever done.

              "O Little Town of Bethlehem" was written in 1868, several years after Brooks had returned from a trip to the Holy Land. The experience of spending Christmas Eve in Bethlehem and worshipping in the Church of the Nativity, thought to be the place of Christ's birth, made an indelible impression upon the young preacher. Three years later, while pastor ai the Holy Trinity Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was searching for a new carol for his children to sing in their Sunday School Christmas program. The still vivid memory of his Holy Land visit inspired Brooks to write this text.

              Brooks gave a copy of the newly written carol to his organist and Sunday School superintendent, Lewis H. Redner, and asked him to com­pose a simple melody that children could sing easily. Redner was known throughout the Philadelphia area as a devoted Christian leader in Sunday School work as well as one deeply interested in church music. He strug­gled for a considerable time to contrive just the right tune for his pastor's text. On the evening before the program was to be given, he suddenly awakened from his sleep and quickly composed the present melody. Redner always insisted that the tune was a gift from heaven. The carol was an immediate favorite with the children, as it has been with children and adults around the world to the present time. It was first published in 1874. Although Brooks wrote a number of other Christmas and Easter carols especially for children, this is the only one to survive the test of time.

              Phillips Brooks was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1835. After graduation from Harvard and the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia in 1859, he began a long and distinguished career in the ministry, serving as pastor in Philadelphia from 1859-69 and at the Trinity Church in Boston from 1869-91.  He was appointed Bishop of all the Episcopal churches in the Massachusetts area shortly before his untimely death 1893.

 

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

 

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

 

72.                                                             O THAT WILL BE GLORY

             

              Charles H. Gabriel, one of this country's most influential and prolific gospel songwriters of the early twentieth century, was born in a prairie shanty on August 18, 1856, at Wilton, Iowa. The settlers in that area often gathered in the Gabriel home for singing sessions and fellowship, with Charles's father generally serving as the leader. At an early age Charles developed a love for music and soon gave evidence of a gift for composing. One day he told his mother that it was his supreme desire to write a song that would become famous. She wisely replied, "My boy, I would rather have you write a song that will help somebody than see you President of the United States.'' Two years later Charles began leaching singing schools in the surrounding area without ever having the benefit of a single formal music lesson. He began writing and selling many of his songs during those early days but never received more than two and one half dollars for any of his works.

              In all Mr. Gabriel edited thirty-five different gospel songbooks, eight Sunday School songbooks, seven books for male choruses, six for ladies' voices, ten children's songbooks, nineteen collections of anthems, twenty-three choir cantatas, forty-one Christmas cantatas, ten children's cantatas, and numerous books on musical instruction. From 1912 until his death in 1932 he was associated with the Homer Rodeheaver Publishing Company. His fame as a successful composer became widely known, especially with the use of his songs by Rodeheaver in the large Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns. Like many of the early gospel song musicians, Gabriel usually wrote both the texts and music for his songs. Some of his hymn texts are shown with his pseudonym. Charlotte G. Homer.

              "O That Will be Glory" first appeared in a publication entitled Make His Praise Glorious, compiled and published in 1900 by a fellow gospel musician, E. O. Excell. The text was inspired by Mr. Gabriel's good friend, Ed Card, Superintendent of the Sunshine Rescue Mission of St. Louis, Missouri. Ed was a radiant believer who always seemed to be bubbling over with the joy of the Lord. During a sermon or prayer he would often explode with the expression, "Glory!" His smiling face earned him the nickname "Old Glory Face." It was his custom to close his own praying with a reference to heaven, ending with the phrase "and that will be glory for me!" It is said that Card had the joy of singing this hymn just before his home-going with the pleasure of knowing that his Christian life had been its inspiration. This hymn has since been trans­lated into many different languages and dialects with an estimated publi­cation of over 100 million copies.

              Other well-known favorites by Charles Gabriel include "Higher Ground", "More Like the Master," "Send the Light," "My Savior's Love," "He Is So Precious to Me," "O It Is Wonderful," and "He Lifted Me."

 

When all my labors and trials are o’er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
Will through the ages be glory for me.

 

Refrain:
Oh, that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me,
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.

 

73.                                                   RESCUE THE PERISHING

             

              Fanny Crosby, the blind American poetess, has often been called the queen of gospel song writers. Although she did not begin writing gospel songs until she was forty-four years of age, from her radiant heart and prolific pen flowed more than 8,000 gospel hymns before her home-going at the age of ninety-five, on February 12, 1915.

              The authoress has left the following account of the writing of this hymn:

It was written in the year 1869. Many of my hymns were written after experiences in New York mission work. This one was thus written. I was addressing a large company of working men one hot summer evening, when the thought kept forcing itself on my mind that some mother's boy must be rescued that night or not at all. So I made a pressing plea that if there was a boy present who had wandered from his mother's home and teaching, he should come to me at the end of the service. A young man of eighteen came forward and said, "Did you mean me? I promised my mother to meet her in heaven, but as I am now living that will be impossible." We prayed for him and he finally arose with a new light in his eyes and exclaimed in triumph, "Now I can meet my mother in heaven, for I have found God."

              A few days before, Mr. Doane had sent me a theme for a new song, "Rescue the Perishing," based on Luke 14:23. While I sat in the mission that evening, the line came to me "Rescue the perishing, care for the dying." I could think of nothing else that night. When I arrived home, I went to work on the hymn at once, and before I retired it was ready for the melody. The song was first published in 1870 in Doane's Songs of Devotion.

              This hymn, like so many of Fanny Crosby's soul-stirring songs, has been greatly used of God to bring conviction of repentance to many. Ira Sankey, used this hymn continually in his evangelistic campaigns with D. L. Moody.

 

Rescue the perishing,
  Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
  Weep o'er the erring one,
  Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

 

Rescue the perishing,
  Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
    Jesus will save.

 

74.                                                            STAND UP FOR JESUS

             

              In the year 1858 a great city-wide revival swept across the city of Philadelphia. It was called The Work of God in Philadelphia. Of the participating ministers none was more powerful than the twenty-nine year old Episcopalian, Dudley Tyng. He was known as a bold, fearless and uncompromising preacher with great influence on the other spiritual lead­ers around him. His father, the Rev. Stephen H. Tyng, was for many years the pastor of the large Episcopalian Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia. After serving a short time as his father's assistant, Dudley succeeded his father in this pulpit. However, some of the more fashiona­ble members soon became upset with their young preacher because of his straight-forward doctrinal preaching and his strong stand against slavery. He resigned this pulpit and with a group of faithful followers organized The Church of the Covenant.

              In addition to his duties as pastor of the new and growing congregation, Tyng began holding noon-day services at the downtown YMCA. Great crowds were attracted to hear this dynamic young preacher. On Tuesday, March 30, 1858, over 5,000 men gathered for a noon mass meeting to hear young Tyng preach from Exodus 10:1 l-"Go now ye that are men and serve the Lord.'' Over 1,000 of these men responded by committing their hearts and lives to Christ and His service; the sermon was often termed one of the most successful of the times.

              During the sermon the young preacher remarked, "I must tell my Master's errand, and I would rather that this right arm were amputated at the trunk than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God's message." The next week, while visiting in the country and watch­ing the operation of a com thrasher in a barn, he accidentally caught his loose sleeve between the cogs; the arm was lacerated severely, the main artery was severed and the median nerve was injured. Four days later infection developed. As a result of shock and a great loss of blood, Dudley Tyng died on April 19, 1858. At his death bed, when asked by a group of sorrowful friends and ministers for a final statement, he whis­pered, "Let us all stand up for Jesus."

              The next Sunday Tyng's close friend and fellow worker, the Rev. George Duffield, pastor of the Temple Presbyterian Church in Philadel­phia, preached his morning sermon as a tribute to his departed friend, choosing as his text Ephesians 6:14: "Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness." He closed his sermon by reading a poem of six stanzas that he had written, inspired, as he told his people, by the dying words of his esteemed friend. Rev. Duffield's Sunday School superintendent was so impressed by the verses that he had them printed for distribution throughout the Sunday School. The editor of a Baptist periodical happened to receive one of these pamphlets and promptly gave it a wider circulation. From there it eventually found its way into the hymnals and hearts of God's people across the world.

George Duffield was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1818. He studied at Yale University and Union Theological Seminary. He received a D.D. Degree from Knox College in recognition of his many accomplishments. For seven years he served as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan.

              The most familiar tune, "Webb," was borrowed by an editor of a hymnal from a secular song written by George J. Webb, a song entitled "Tis Dawn, the Lark is Singing," which had been used for a musical show on board a ship crossing the Atlantic. Webb was born in Salis­bury, England, on June 24, 1803, and came to the United States in 1830. He settled in Boston and became active in the musical affairs of that city, serving as organist of the Old South Church for forty years.

              The stirring but less familiar "Geibel" tune was composed by Adam Geibel especially for Duffield's text in 1901. Adam Geibel was born in Germany, on September 15, 1885. Upon settling in this country, he became an organist and music teacher. He founded the Adam Geibel Music Company, which later became the Hall-Mack Company and even­tually merged with the Rodeheaver Hall-Mack Company. Geibel was totally blind, the result of an eye infection at the age of eight. Yet despite this affliction, he was a skillful organist, conductor and a prolific com­poser, both of sacred and secular songs. His most popular secular songs were "Kentucky Babe" and "Sleep, Sleep, Sleep." He was especially known for his ability to write and arrange for male voices.

              Truly God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. A dynamic young Episcopalian preacher, a corn-threshing machine, a tragic fatal accident, a Presbyterian minister's hymn text tribute, two tunes-one secular and another by a blind composer-and the revival of 1858, the Work of God in Philadelphia, still have their influence on us today each time we open our hymnals to this hymn.

 

Stand up! stand up for Jesus!
  Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner,
  It must not suffer loss:
From vict'ry unto vict'ry
  His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished
  And Christ is Lord indeed.

 

Stand up for Jesus
Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner,
  It must not, it must not suffer loss.

 

75.                                                        THE OLD RUGGED CROSS

             

              Seldom can a song leader suggest a time for favorites from any congre­gation without receiving at least one request for "The Old Rugged Cross." This gospel hymn, a sentimental favorite of Christians and un­saved alike, was written by George Bennard in 1913. It is generally conceded to be the most popular of all twentieth century hymns.

              George Bennard was born in Youngstown, Ohio, but his parents soon moved to Albia, Iowa, and later to the town of Lucas in the same state. It was here that young George made his personal acceptance of Christ as his Savior. Following the death of his father before George was sixteen years of age, he entered the ranks of the Salvation Army. Bennard and his first wife served for a period of time as officers in this organization.

              Consequently, Bennard was ordained by the Methodist Episcopal Church, where his devoted ministry was highly esteemed. For some lime he was busily involved in conducting revival services, especially throughout the states of Michigan and New York. One time, after return­ing to Michigan, he passed through a trying experience which caused him to reflect seriously about the significance of the cross and what the Apos­tle Paul meant when he spoke of entering into the fellowship of Christ's suffering. As Bennard contemplated these truths, he became convinced that the cross was more than just a religious symbol but rather the very heart of the gospel. George Bennard has left the following account regard­ing the writing of this hymn:

              The inspiration came to me one day in 1913, when I was staying in Albion, Michigan. I began to write "The Old Rugged Cross." I com­posed the melody first. The words that I first wrote were imperfect. The words of the finished hymn were put into my heart in answer to my own need. Shortly thereafter it was introduced at special meetings in Pokagon, Michigan on June 7, 1913. The first occasion where it was heard outside of the church at Pokagon was at the Chicago Evangelistic Institute. There it was introduced before a large convention and soon it became extremely popular throughout the country,

              Shortly after writing this hymn, George Bennard sent a manuscript copy to Charles Gabriel, one of the leading gospel hymn composers of that era. Gabriel's prophecy, "You will certainly hear from this song," was soon realized as ' 'The Old Rugged Cross'' became one of the most widely published songs, either sacred or secular, in this country.

              Bennard continued his evangelistic ministries for forty additional years following the writing of this hymn. He wrote other favorite gospel hymns, but none ever achieved the response of "The Old Rugged Cross." On October 9, 1958, at the age of eighty-five, Bennard ex­changed his ' 'cross for a crown. " He spent the last years of his life by the "side of Ihe road," a few miles north of Reed City, Michigan. Near this home there still stands a twelve foot high cross with the words, " The Old Rugged Cross '-Home of George Bennard, composer of this beloved hymn."

              Although it has often been stated that we do not worship the cross as such but rather the Christ of the cross, one cannot ponder the truths of Christ's atonement without a keen awareness of the centrality of the cross in God's plan of redemption for lost mankind.

 

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
  The emblem of suff'ring and shame,
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
  For a world of lost sinners was slain.

 

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
  And exchange it someday for a crown.

 

76.                                                      THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER

             

              Francis Scott Key, author of our national anthem, was born on August 1, 1779 in Frederick, Maryland. He was the son of a distinguished Revo­lutionary War Officer, Throughout his life Francis was known as a fine spiritual gentleman and an active lay leader in the Protestant Episcopal Church. He was trained in law and later served as the District Attorney at Georgetown, District of Columbia, for three terms.

              During our War of 1812 with England, Francis Scott Key was author­ized by President Madison to visit the British Fleet located near the mouth of the Potomac to negotiate the release of a physician friend, Dr. Beanes, who had been taken prisoner by the invaders. The British admiral finally granted the American's request, but because the British ships had planned an attack on Fort McHenry, which guarded the harbor of Balti­more, Key and his party were detained all night aboard the truce boat on which they had come.

              That night, September 13, 1813, was a night of unforgettable anxiety for Key and his party. The fierce bombardment continued during the hours of darkness. As long as the shore fortification replied to the attack, Key and his friends were certain that all was still well. Toward morning the firing from the shore seemed to cease, causing the American delega­tion great dismay. While the other members rested briefly from their weariness, Key continued to pace the deck until the first rays of dawn revealed that the "flag was still there "-assurance that we were still free. Inspired by this experience, Scott began to write his poem hastily on the back of a letter. Later that evening upon being released, he completed his work in his home. Shortly afterward he had it printed in handbill form. The poem had an immediate response with the American people, still exhilarated by news of their victory. Approximately one month later Scott's poem was published in sheet music form by Joseph Carr. It was set to a tune known as "Anacron in Heaven." This tune, known as early as the 1790's in this country as an old hunting tune, had been used previously with other texts. Since its first use with Scott's poem, how­ever, it has been the accepted tune for our national anthem. Although the wide twelve-note range of this melody is difficult for many to sing, it does provide an inspirational setting for this text. It is not known for certain who the composer might be, but it is generally attributed to a Joh Stafford Smith, born in Gloucester, England, 1750. Smith was a com poser for the Covent Garden Theater and the conductor of the Academy o Aneient Music. He died on September 20, 1836.

              The flag that waved during that night of September 13 had been made and given to the McHenry Fort by a fifteen year old girl, later identified as Mrs. Sanderson. The flag is still on display in the Sanderson family home in Baltimore, Maryland. The city of Baltimore has also erected an elabo­rate statue in honor of the author of our national anthem.

              Despite the early enthusiastic acceptance of this patriotic hymn, it was not officially adopted and declared to be our National Anthem by Con­gress until March 3, 1931.

 

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

 

77.                                     WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDEROUS CROSS

             

              This hymn by Isaac Watts, labeled by the well-known theologian Matthew Arnold as the greatest hymn in the English language, was writ­ten in 1707 for use at a communion service conducted by Watts. It first appeared in print that same year in Watts's outstanding collection, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Its original title was "Crucifixion to the World by the Cross of Christ."

Isaac Watts was born on July 17, 1674, in Southampton, England. The eldest of nine children, he was the son of an educated deacon in a dissent­ing Congregational church. At the time of Isaac's birth, his father was in prison for his non-conformist beliefs. Young Watts showed an unusual aptitude for study and learned Latin at the age of five, Greek at nine, French at eleven and Hebrew at thirteen. He began to write verses of good quality when he was very young.

              Watts once wrote, "The singing of God's praise is the part of worship most closely related to heaven; but its performance among us is the worst on earth." One Sunday after returning from a typically poor service, Watts continued to rail against the congregational singing. His father exclaimed, "Why don't you give us something better, young man!" Before the evening service began, young Isaac had written his first hymn, which was received with great enthusiasm by the people.

The youthful poet decided to write other hymn settings. For a period of two years Watts wrote a new hymn every Sunday. He went on to write new metrical versions of the Psalms with a desire to "Christianize the Psalms with the New Testament message and style." Several of his hymns that were based on these new Psalm settings are such favorites as "Jesus Shall Reign"  and "0 God, Our Help in Ages Past" . Watts is also the author of a children's hymn, "I Sing the Mighty Power of God". Because of this bold departure from the tra­ditional Psalms, Isaac Watts was often considered to be a radical church­man in his day.

              Isaac Watts is also the author of "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?" and "Joy to the World!".

              Watts not only rewrote the Psalms in this way, but he also wrote a number of hymns based solely on personal feelings. These hymns were known as hymns of human composure. Such hymns were very controver­sial during his lifetime. "When 1 Survey the Wondrous Cross" is an example of this type of hymn written by Watts. In all Isaac Watts com­posed more than 600 hymns.

 

When we survey the wondrous cross
On which the Lord of glory died,
Our richest gain we count but loss,
And pour contempt on all our pride.

 

Our God forbid that we should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, our Lord;
All the vain things that charm us most,
We'd sacrifice them to His blood.

 

.

INDEX

 

1.                  Almost Persuaded—Entirely Lost                            1

2.                  Am I a Soldier of the Cross?                                       2

3.                  Battle Hymn of the Republic                                       59

4.                  Beneath the Cross of Jesus                                       60

5.                  Blessed Assurance                                                       3

6.                  Blest Be the Tie That Binds                                         61

7.                  Break Thou The Bread Of Life                                     4

8.                  Come, Thou Fount                                                         62

9.                  Count Your Blessings                                                   63

10.              Day By Day                                                                  

11.              Does Jesus Care?                                                          6

12.              Face To Face                                                                    7

13.              Fill My Cup, Lord                                                             8

14.              God Leads His Dear Children Along                          9

15.              God Understands                                                          10

16.              God Will Take Care Of You                                          11

17.              Great Is Thy Faithfulness                                            12

18.              Hark! the Herald Angels Sing                                     13

19.              Have Thine Own Way, Lord                                        14

20.              He Hideth My Soul                                                        16

21.              He Leadeth Me                                                               17

22.              He Lives                                                                          18

23.              Heaven Came Down                                                    15

24.              His Eye Is On The Sparrow                                        19

25.              How Firm a Foundation                                               64

26.              How Great Thou Art                                                      20

27.              How The “Messiah” Was Written                              21

28.              I Gave My Life For Thee                                               65

29.              I Love To Tell The Story                                              23

30.              I Surrender All                                                                24

31.              I Will Sing the Wondrous Story                                 25

32.              I’d Rather Have Jesus                                                 22

33.              In The Garden                                                                66

34.              It is Well With My Soul                                                  67

35.              Jesus Loves Even Me                                                  68

36.              Jesus Loves Me                                                             26

37.              Just As I Am                                                                    27

38.              Leave it There                                                                 58

39.              Let The Lower Lights Be Burning                             28

40.              Lord, I’m Coming Home                                               29

41.              Make Me A Blessing                                                      30

42.              More Love To Thee                                                        31

43.              My Country Tis of Thee                                                69

44.              My Faith Looks Up To Thee                                        32

45.              My Redeemer                                                                  70

46.              Nearer, My God, To Thee                                             33

47.              No One Cared For Me Like Jesus                              34

48.              O For A Thousand Tongues                                        35

49.              O Little Town of Bethlehem                                          71

50.              O That Will be Glory                                                        72

51.              Onward Christian Soldiers                                            36

52.              Rescue the Perishing                                                     73

53.              Rock Of Ages                                                                    37

54.              Shall We Gather at the River?                                       38

55.              Silent Night                                                                        39

56.              So Send I You                                                                   42

57.              Softly and Tenderly                                                         40

58.              Some Golden Daybreak                                                 41

59.              Stand Up For Jesus                                                        74

60.              Standing on the Promises                                             43

61.              Sweet By-And-By                                                            44

62.              Sweet Hour Of Prayer                                                    45

63.              Take My Life and Let It Be                                            46

64.              Tell Me The Old, Old Story                                            47

65.              The Fairest Of Ten Thousand                                     48

66.              The Love of God                                                             49

67.              The Ninety And Nine                                                      50

68.              The Old Rugged Cross                                                 75

69.              The Old Time Religion                                                   51

70.              The Star Spangled Banner                                          76

71.              There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood                      52

72.              Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus                                  53

73.              Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus                                      54

74.              What A Friend                                                                55

75.              When I Survey the Wondrous Cross                      75

76.              When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder                         56

77.              Wonderful Grace of Jesus                                        77

            

 

    

 

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