Saturday, 28 March 2015

"He Leadeth me! O blessed thought!" Joseph Henry Gilmore, 1834-1918

DR. JOSEPH H. GILMORE, the son of a governor of New Hampshire, began his career as pastor of a Baptist church, later becoming professor of Hebrew in Rochester Theological Seminary and afterward professor of English literature in Rochester University, New York. In 1862, the year of his ordination, he was visiting in Philadelphia and conducted the Wednesday evening prayer meeting in the First Baptist Church of that city. 

He took for his subject the Twenty-third Psalm, that most beloved hymn from the world's first hymn book. After the meeting Dr. Gilmore wrote this hymn on the text, "He leadeth me beside the still waters." It came as a result of a conversation in the home he was visiting that evening on the theme of the prayer meeting.

Dr. Gilmore has described the occasion thus : "During the conversation, the blessedness of God's leadership so grew upon me that I took out my pencil, wrote the hymn just as it stands to-day, handed it to my wife, and thought no more about it. She sent it, without my knowledge, to the Watchman and Recorder. Three years later I went to Rochester to preach for the Second Baptist Church. On entering the chapel, I took up a hymn book, thinking, I wonder what they sing? The book opened at He leadeth me ! and that was the first time I knew my hymn had found a place among the songs of the church."

Below are the lyrics
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.

Refrain:

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.



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