Sunday, 25 February 2018

Christian War Hymns: Gustavus Adolphus Battle Song

Out of the heroic struggles of the Thirty Years' War, which saved for the world the fruit of the sixteenth century Reformation, there stands forth one gigantic son of the Vikings, the noble Gustavus 
Adolphus, king of Sweden. 

His name is inseparably linked with one of the really great hymns of the Church — a hymn which was born in the midst of the conflict and is especially expressive of the faith and heroism which characterizes all true believers in the midst of trials and dangers. 


Fear not, little flock, the foe 
Who madly seeks your overthrow; 

Dread not his rage and power: 
What though your courage sometimes faints. 
His seeming triumph o'er God's saints 

Lasts but a little hour. 

Be of good cheer; your cause belongs 
To Him who can avenge your wrongs; 

Leave it to Him, our Lord. 
Though hidden yet from mortal eyes, 
Salvation shall for you arise: 

He girdeth on His sword! 

As true as God's own word is true, 
Not earth nor hell with all their crew 

Against us shall prevail. 
A jest and byword are they grown: 
God is with us; we are His own; 

Our victory cannot fail. 

Amen, Lord Jesus, grant our prayer! 
Great Captain, now Thine arm make bare; 

Fight for us once again! 
So shall Thy saints and martyrs raise 
A mighty chorus to Thy praise, 

World without end. Amen. 



The hymn was written to commemorate the victory of the Protestant armies under Gustavus Adolphus on the field of Leipzig, September, 17, 1631. 

The authorship is somewhat uncertain. It is popularly ascribed to King Gustavus Adolphus himself. There are good authorities who say that his chaplain, Jacob Fabricius, was the real author. 

Still others, and with the weight of evidence in their favor, say that the author was Johann Michael Altenberg, a Lutheran pastor, who was compelled to flee from his home during the Thirty Years' War. 

While at Erfurt he wrote this hymn to celebrate the victory of the Swedish king and his army over Roman Catholic forces at Leipzig. Gustavus Adolphus, the Swedish king and commander, was so taken with it that he used it constantly and ordered it to be sung before every battle thereafter. This accounts for the title and the accredited authorship. He made it his own. 

The oldest form of the hymn is published as a pamphlet, which appeared shortly after the battle of Lutzen. A copy of this pamphlet is to be found in the Royal Library in Berlin and another in the Totvh Library in Hamburg. 

We are told that on the morning of November, 16, 1632, King Gustavus Adolphus' forces engaged Wallenstein's army in the decisive battle of Liitzen. Early in the morning the king summoned his court preacher, Fabricius, and directed him to hold a service of prayer for the whole army. 

While a thick mist still covered the field the king's battle hymn was sung. Gustavus then gave the watchword for the fight — ''God with us" — rode before the army to encourage his soldiers and commanded that as the troops advanced the trumpets should play ''Ein Feste Burg" and "Es woll uns Gott gnadig sein." 

The battle was fiercely fought, the king falling, but victory came and evangelical liberty was assured and sealed by the blood of the martyred Swedish king. Because of the use of this hymn on the morning of his death it is often called 'The Swan Song of King Gustavus Adolphus." 

The prayer which the king uttered that morning has been preserved. It was his usual battle prayer, and embraced the following brief sentences: "O Lord Jesus Christ, bless our armies and this day's battle, for the glory of Thy holy name! Amen." 

Uttering the battle cry, "God with us!" he fought till he fell from his charger in the front of his valiant troops, when from the lips of the dying king came these words, "I seal with my blood the liberty and religion of the German nation." It was the heroic and worthy ending of a martyr, an incident which adds imperishable interest to the hymn. 

Well has Frederick Saunders said: "What struggles of soul have some of these hymns not witnessed, in what strange and stirring scenes have they not mingled! How has their melody and sweet inspiration brought solace to sorrow, and lent ecstasy to spiritual joy! Like the words of the Holy Book, they linger in the memory; and, in the hours of despondency and gloom, how often have they lifted us up from the earthliness of our being, and also imparted even to the sick and dying wondrous consolation." 

How we should seek to know the origin and enter into the spirit of the hymns we sing ! 

Concerning Gustavus Adolphus' hymn we might add that it is published in the Swedish hymn book of 1819, a book in extensive use both in Sweden and America, and there ascribed to the king himself. 

In the Swedish Lutheran churches in this country it is invariably sung at Reformation festivals and also at Gustavus Adolphus Day (November 6) celebrations. It is also in very general use in all Lutheran churches in this country and increasing in popularity and use every year. 

It was sung at the dedication of the Gustavus Adolphus Chapel at Liitzen November 6, 1907. This chapel was the gift of Conrad Oscar Ekman, of Sweden, to the city of Liitzen. 

It stands on the spot which tradition points out as the place where the great king fell and where "Schwedenstein" was placed. At the dedication there were present representatives of the Church in Germany, Sweden, Finland and America, officially speaking for the followers of Luther and Gustavus Adolphus in those lands. 

It was a great occasion and a high tribute to the man who fell there and whose favorite melody rang out to honor the man who had found strengthening for his faith in the rugged words of the old battle song, which had aided in bringing to a successful issue the terrors of the Thirty Years' Wax. 

Whether German or Swede may claim this hymn is a question. They both rightly own it. It is a general favorite in Germany. Every Sunday in the home of the great German Lutheran pietist, Philip Jacob Spener, this hymn was sung. 

It is regularly used at the meetings of the Gustavus Adolphus Union, an association organized for the express purpose of helping Protestant Churches in Roman Catholic countries. This would seem to be an eminently appropriate use of this hymn so closely associated with the Protestant struggle and the Protestant 
victory. 

The hymn has been translated into many languages and is in wide use. There are a number of English translations, the most generally used of which is the one we have given above from the pen of Miss Winkworth. 

A hymn which is a contrast to the battle hymn of the Swedish king is Dr. Paul Eber's hymn, which he composed, based on the words of King Jehoshaphat (2 Chron, 20 : 12). There are a number of translations, but as is so often the case, the favorite one which we give is that from the pen of 
Miss Wink worth. 

Zion stands by hills surrounded. The Safety of the Church

Among the seven hundred and sixty-five hymns written by Thomas Kelly is one on the safety of the Church which is worthy of a place in any good hymn book. 

The author, who was a son of an eminent Irish judge, was educated with a view to the law; but through spiritual conviction gave himself to the work of the ministry. With Rowland Hill, because of his earnest evangelical preaching, he was inhibited by the Archbishop of Dublin and compelled to preach in unconsecrated buildings. 

He eventually seceded from the Established Church and erected a number of places of worship in which he conducted worship and preached. This insight into the life of the author will materially increase our appreciation of his hymn in which he sings of the safety of the Church. 

HYMN ON THE SAFETY OF THE CHURCH 

Zion stands with hills surrounded; 

Zion kept by power divine; 
All her foes shall be confounded. 

Though the world in arms combine. 
Happy Zion, 

What a favored lot is thine! 

Every human tie may perish; 

Friend to friend unfaithful prove; 
Mothers cease their own to cherish; 

Heaven and earth at last remove; 
But no changes 

Can attend Jehovah's love. 


In the furnace God may prove thee, 
Thence to bring thee forth more bright, 

But can never cease to love thee; 
Thou art precious in His sight: 

God is with thee, 
God, thine everlasting Light. 

The Church's One Foundation : Festival Hymn of the Church

A hymn which has an interesting origin and history is the hymn usually called by its first line, "The Church's One Foundation." It was written by Samuel J. Stone in 1866. 

The story of its conception in the mind of the waiter is that he was impressed by the defence of the Catholic Faith made by Bishop Gray, of Capetown, against the teachings of Bishop Colenso. This fact gives it an historic association which adds interest and meaning to its stanzas, which in the original number ten. 

The hymn as it appeared originally is an elaboration of that portion of the Apostles' Creed which is indicated by the title, 'The Holy Catholic Church: The Communion of Saints. He is the Head of the Body, the Church." 

This title is given to the hymn in the author's collection known as "Lyra Fidelium." It is a festival hymn of the church.
Samuel J. Stone

We give herewith those stanzas which are most familiar and most widely used. 


The Church's one foundation 

Is Jesus Christ her Lord; 
She is His new creation 

By water and the Word; 
From heaven He came, and sought her 

To be His holy Bride, 
With His own blood He bought her, 

And for her life He died. 



Elect from every nation, 

Yet one o'er all the earth, 
Her charter of salvation 

One Lord, one Faith, one Birth; 
One holy Name she blesses. 

Partakes one holy Food, 
And to one Hope she presses. 

With every grace endued. 



Though with a scornful wonder 

Men see her sore opprest, 
By schisms rent asunder. 

By heresies distrest; 
Yet saints their watch are keeping, 

Their cry goes up, "How long?" 
And soon the night of weeping 

Shall be the morn of song. 



Mid toil and tribulation, 

And tumult of her war, 
She waits the consummation 

Of peace for evermore; 
Till with the vision glorious 

Her longing eyes are blest, 
And the great Church victorious 

Shall be the Church at rest. 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Saved From Certain Death While Singing Jesus Lover of My Soul Hymn

A War Incident 

A party of Northern tourists formed part of a large company gathered on the deck of an excursion steamer that was moving slowly down the historic Potomac one beautiful evening in the summer of 1881. 

A gentleman, who has since gained a national reputation as an evangelist of song, had been delighting the party with his happy rendering of many familiar hymns, the last being the sweet petition so dear to every Christian heart, "Jesus, lover of my soul.'' 

The singer gave the first two verses with much feeling, and a peculiar emphasis upon the concluding lines that thrilled every heart. A hush had fallen upon the listeners that was not broken for some seconds after the musical notes had died away. 

Then a gentleman made his way from the outskirts of the crowd to the side of the singer, and accosted him with, ''Beg pardon, stranger, but were you actively engaged in the late war?" 

''Yes, sir," the man of song answered, courteously; "I fought under General Grant." 

"Well," the first speaker continued with something like a sigh, "I did my fighting on the other side, and think, indeed am quite sure, I was very near you one bright night eighteen years ago this very month. 

It was very much such a night as this. If I am not mistaken, you were on guard duty. We of the South had sharp business on hand, and you were one of the enemy. I crept near your post of duty, my murderous weapon in hand. The shadows hid me. 

Your beat led you into the clear light. As you paced back and forth you were humming the tune you have just sung. I raised my gun and aimed at your heart, and I had been selected by our commander for the work because I was a sure shot. Then, out upon the night rang the words — 

'Cover my defenceless head 
With the shadow of Thy wing.' 

Your prayer was answered. I couldn't fire after that. And there was no attack made on your camp that night. I felt sure, when I heard you sing this evening, that you were the man whose life I was spared from taking.'' 

The singer grasped the hand of the Southerner, and said, with much emotion: ''I remember the night very well, and distinctly the feeling of depression and loneliness with which I went forth to my duty. 

I knew my post was one of great danger, and I was more dejected than I remember to have been at any time during the service. I paced my lonely beat, thinking of home and friends and all that life holds dear. 

Then the thought of God's care for all that He has created came to me with peculiar force. If He so cares for the sparrow, how much more for man created in His own image.

And I sang the prayer of my heart, and ceased to feel alone. How the prayer was answered I never knew until this evening. My heavenly Father thought best to keep the knowledge from me for eighteen years. 

How much of His goodness to us we shall be ignorant of until it is revealed by the light of eternity! 
'Jesus, lover of my soul,' has been a favorite hymn to me; now it will be inexpressibly dear." 

The incident given in the above sketch is a true one, and was related by a lady who was one of the party on the steamer. 

Source: Henky Maetyn Kieffeb, Short Stories of Hymns

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

In the Sweet By and By Hymn Lyrics and History

In the Sweet By and By or The Sweet By and By is a collaboration between two friends Sanford Fillmore Bennett (1836-1898) and Joseph P Webster. Stanford Fillmore Bennett provided the words while his friend Joseph P Webster provided the music.

This song  was the result of an incident in their lives as friends. The account is described in Sanford Fillmore Bennett’s autobiography.

Bennett says that his friend Joseph P Webster was a sensitive soul like most very talented musicians unfortunately.

He suffered from bouts of depression now and then. This caused him to focus on the darker side of life and was therefore a troubled soul during those bouts of depression.

Bennett said he had studied these peculiarities in his friend's life and was quick to notice his mood changes. And as good friends should and do he offered a helping hand.

In his case Bennett found that giving Webster a song to work on lifted his spirits.

Stanford Fillmore Bennett
In one such instance Webster came to Bennett’s place of business  walked down to the stove, and turned his back on him without speaking a word.

Bennet who was at his desk turned to him and asked, “Webster, what is the matter now?” To which Webster replied, “It is no matter, it will be all right by and by.”

This response suddenly made Bennett realise that he could write a hymn on this. He replied to Webster, “The Sweet By and By! Why would not that make a good hymn?” To which Webster responded, “maybe it would”.

Bennett immediately started penning the words of the as fast as he could.

He handed the complete hymn to Webster who immediately lighted up and started writing the notes while playing his violin. Within 30 minutes they had produced this sweet hymn and they immediately started singing it.

Below are the In The Sweet By and By lyrics:

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.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

For more links to hymn stories and lyrics visit Popular and Old Hymns History.

Below is a video of Mark Trammell singing In The Sweet By and By.



Wayfaring Stranger Hymn Lyrics and History

Origin of Wayfaring Stranger

This song has been around for over 200 hundred years blessing millions of Americans in both the secular and the religious world.

It is difficult if not impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of this North American folk song.

We have some historians saying that they can trace this song to the 1780s while others trace to the early 1800s.

Who Composed Wayfaring Stranger



The jury is still out when it comes to the composer of the Wayfaring Stranger. Some people think that is a reworked Negro spiritual.

Some think that it could have come the Portuguese colonialists.

Others think that it could be a reworked native song.

The fact is this song has now become one of the most loved gospel folk songs in America.

Many Versions of Wayfaring Stranger and Use by Secular Musicians


As with many folk songs there are so many versions of this hymn floating  around in America.

It has been adapted by musicians of all sorts of backgrounds to present their message to the world.

Prominent and famous musicians have made this folk song their own.

In the 1940s Burl Ives made "Wayfaring Stranger" a signature song in his album.

Other musicians such as Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash have given their take on this hymn in their albums.

The latest to play around this folk song has been British pop star Ed Sheeran. He has popularized a near acappella-and-vocal version of "Wayfaring Stranger" on YouTube.

Below are the lyris of one of the versions of Wayfaring Stranger.

1 I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger,
I’m trav’ling through this world below;
There is no sickness, toil, nor danger,
In that bright world to which I go.
I’m going there to see my father,
I’m going there no more to roam;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.

2 I know dark clouds will gather o’er me,
I know my pathway’s rough and steep;
But golden fields lie out before me,
Where weary eyes no more shall weep.
I’m going there to see my mother,
She said she’d meet me when I come;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.

3 I want to sing salvations story,
In concert with the blood-washed band;
I want to wear a crown of glory,
When I get home to that good land.
I’m going there to see my brothers,
They passed before me one by one;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.

4 I’ll soon be free from every trial,
This form will rest beneath the sod;
I’ll drop the cross of self-denial,
And enter in my home with God.
I’m going there to see my Saviour,
Who shed for me His precious blood;
I’m just a going over Jordan,
I’m just a going over home.

For more links to pages on this blog with some more hymn stories and lyrics visit here.

The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago Lyrics and Story

The author of this sweet hymn, The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago is Frank M Graham. 

He hailed from Birmingham, Illinois and was born on March 1, 1859 and died on August 25, 1931 in Greensboro, Georgia.

He was a minister in the Methodist Church.

His many achievements included being one of the founders of the  Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina

This hymns has an important message for all Christians. It presents to us what happens when a sinner accepts Christ as his personal savior.

All our sins are transfered to the account of Jesus when we repent and accept Christ as our personal account. He paid the debt on the cross and all we need to do is accept this offer of a pardon.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).
Frank M Graham

Below are the lyrics of The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago.

1. There was a time on earth, when in the book of Heav’n
An old account was standing for sins yet unforgiv’n;
My name was at the top, and many things below,
I went unto the Keeper, and settled long ago.

Refrain
Long ago (down on my knees), long ago (I settled it all),
Yes, the old account was settled long ago (Hallelujah!);
And the record’s clear today, for He washed my sins away,
When the old account was settled long ago.

2. The old account was large, and growing every day,
For I was always sinning, and never tried to pay;
But when I looked ahead, and saw such pain and woe,
I said that I would settle, I settled long ago. [Refrain]

3. When in that happy home, my Savior’s home above,
I’ll sing redemption’s story, and praise Him for His love;
I’ll not forget that book, with pages white as snow,
Because I came and settled, and settled long ago. [Refrain]

4. O sinner, trust the Lord, be cleansed of all your sin,
For thus He hath provided for you to enter in;
And then if you should live a hundred years below,
Up there you’ll not regret it, you settled long ago. [Refrain]

You can find links to more hymn lyrics and stories here.

Below is a video from one of the Bill Gaither Homecoming concerts featuring this hymn, The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago.


Monday, 9 January 2017

I Will Sing of My Redeemer Hymn Lyrics And Story

I Will Sing of My Redeemer is one of those hymns that are simple but yet beautiful. It is a song that I have come to love since I first learnt in a choir a long time ago.

The words of this song came from the pen of Philip P. Bliss in 1876 and music was composed by James McGranahan in 1877.

This song will have been lost forever during train accident which caused Philip P Bliss death. He had survived the initial clash but met his death when he tried to rescue his wife.

The words of this song were found in his belongs later on.

Another interesting incident related to this song is that it is one of the first ever songs to be recorded.

Philip P Bliss
During the demonstration of a phonograph, a Thomas Edison invention, in New York George Stebbins made a recording of this song.

George Stebbins was one of the most famous musicians and evangelists of his time.

Below are the lyrics of this sweet hymn, I Will Sing of My Redeemer.


I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.
 
Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer,
With His blood He purchased me,
On the cross He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.

I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.

I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant pow’r I’ll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin, and death, and hell.

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His heav’nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be.

Below is a video of this beautiful hymn, I Will Sing of My Redeemer. This is  a recording at one of the Gaither Homecoming concerts.



Hallelujah We Shall Rise Hymn Lyrics and Story

Hallelujah! We Shall Rise is another hymn that I want to share with you. It is a song filled with a message of hope about the future.

It really resonates with all of us concerned with the state of affairs in the world today. A world full of violence and misery.

The author of today's hymn is John Edmond Thomas. He was born on December 6, 1860 and died on April 30, 1946.

His father died when he was only 14 and being the oldest son he was forced to work to support his family.

John E Thomas
Despite of this he managed to attend a vocal school at the age of 17 and was tutored by Professor T A Bridge and later un­der Ho­ra­tio Palm­er and George A. Good­rich.

Later in life he with Franklin Eiland and John Greer found the Trio Music company in 1890.

He thus spent his life as music compiler and publisher.

Among the songs he composed include, Glorious Gospel Train, I Am So Glad Salvation's Free and I am a Child of the King.


Below are the lyrics of this hymn, Hallelujah We Shall Rise.

In that Resurrection morning
When the trumpet of God shall sound
We shall rise, (hallelujah) we shall rise.
Then the saints will come rejoicing and
no tears will e'er be found
We shall rise, (hallelujah) we shall rise.

We shall rise, (hallelujah) we shall rise (amen)
We shall rise, (hallelujah)
In that Resurrection morning
when these prison bars are broken
We shall rise, (hallelujah) we shall rise.

In that Resurrection morning
when the shades of life has fled
We shall rise, (hallelujah) we shall rise.
In the day of glory dawning when the sea
gives up His dead
We shall rise, (hallelujah) we shall rise.

I shall see my blessed Savior
who so freely died for me
We shall rise, (hallelujah) we shall rise.
And our fathers and our mothers and our
loved ones we shall see
We shall rise, (hallelujah) we shall rise.

For links to more hymns please visit Popular and Old Hymns History.

Below is a video from the Gaither Homecoming series featuring this very nice song, Hallelujah We Shall Rise.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Just A Little Talk With Jesus Hymn Lyrics and Story

Reverend Cleavant Derricks is the composer of the words and music of this beautiful gospel hymn, Just A Little Talk With Jesus, that continues to bless millions around the world.

Reverend  Derricks was born on May 13, 1909 and died on April 14, 1977. He pastored a number of black Baptist Churches in the United States of America.

He composed over 300 hymns including "When God Dipped His Love In My Heart,""We'll Soon Be Done With Troubles and Trials," and "When He Blessed My Soul." 

His contributions to gospel music was recognised in 1984 when he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Reverend Cleavant Derricks

Below are the lyrics of this beautiful hymn, Just A Little Talk With Jesus.

I once was lost in sin, but Jesus took me in
And let a little light from heaven fills my soul.
He bathed my heart in love, and He wrote my name above
And just a little talk with Jesus makes me whole.

(Now let us) have a little talk with Jesus
(Let us) tell Him all about our troubles
(He will) hear our fainted cry
(He will) answer by and by
(When you) feel a little prayer wheel turning
(And you) will know a little fire is burnin'
(You will) find a little talk with Jesus makes it right.

I may have doubts and fears, my eye be filled with tears
But Jesus is a friend who watches day and night
I go to him in prayer, He knows my every care
And just a little talk with my Jesus make it right.

(Now let us) have a little talk with Jesus
(Let us) tell Him all about our troubles
(He will) hear our fainted cry
(He will) answer by and by
(When you) feel a little prayer wheel turning
(And you) will know a little fire is burnin'
(You will) find a little talk with Jesus makes it right.

And just a little talk with Jesus makes it right...

Below is a video featuring this song, Just A Little Talk With Jesus.



Joy Unspeakable

Barney E. Warren is the author of this beautiful hymn, Joy Unspeakable. He composed the words and music in 1900.

Barney E. Warren (1867-1951)


Below are the lyrics of this hymn, Joy Unspeakable.

I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth ev’ry need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.

Refrain

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory,
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.

I have found the pleasure I once craved,
It is joy and peace within;
What a wondrous blessing! I am saved
From the awful gulf of sin.

Refrain

I have found that hope so bright and clear,
Living in the realm of grace;
Oh, the Savior’s presence is so near,
I can see His smiling face.

Refrain

I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll!
It is like a great o’erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.

Refrain

Below is  a video featuring the Gaither Homecoming choir singing this beautiful hymn, Joy Unspeakable. 

Gaither music homecomings features musicians from across the United States. Some of the musicians who have performed include Reggie and Ladye Love Smith, Mark Lowry, Buddy Greene, etc.


Nothing But The Blood of Jesus Hymn Story and Lyrics

This sweet hymn is the fruit of the labor of Robert Lowry. He published this hymn in 1876. 

Robert Lowry was an American professor of literature, a Baptist minister and composer of many gospel hymns such as Shall We Gather At The River.

He was born on March 12, 1826, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States and died on November 25, 1899 at Plainfield, New Jersey, United States
Robert Lowry


Below are the lyrics of this beautiful hymn, Nothing But The Blood of Jesus.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain:
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For more hymns and hymns stories and histories visit, Popular and Old Hymns History.

Below is a video of this hymn Nothing But The Blood of Jesus performed at one of the Gaither Music Homecoming concerts. 

It features Buddy Greene and the scores of other well known gospel musicians.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Count Your Blessings Hymn Story and Lyrics

Count Your Blessings is probably one of the most popular Christian hymns in the world. I would not be surprised if it made the top Christian hymns of all-time list for millions of Christians. 

I have heard this song sang on television, radio, church etc. I remember one of the most popular musicians in my country included it in his album and it caught fire with millions singing along or listening to it. 

The author of this hymn is Johnson Oatman Jr. He was born on April 21, 1856 near Medford, New Jersey.

His father was a local merchant who also happened to be a favorite singer in his town. He had a beautiful and powerful booming voice that captivated many people.

The young Johnson Oatman, Jr wanted above all else to follow in the footsteps of his father and be a musician. He wanted to grow up and be like his dad in many other respects besides music.
Johnson Oatman, Jr

He initially joined his father’s business as a junior member in the Johnson Oatman & Son firm. Due to this he did not have enough to fulfill his religious ambitions.

He later studied for ministry in the Methodist church. While he tried his best in his work as an ordained minister in the Methodist church, he soon realised that it was not his thing. He had gone about preaching in various congregations in his area but was not happy.

He knew that he was not going to be a great preacher even though he felt the call of God to ministry. He therefore determined to seek God's will for his life

At the age of 35 he found his calling and never looked back. He realised that while he could not sing like his dad he could write hymns.

Thus began a journey that led him to write 200 hymns a year and eventually wrote 5000 hymns. Thus he was able to find a way to "preach the gospel".

Though his favorite hymns were the popular, "NO, Not One" and "Higher Ground" it was Count Your Blessings written in 1897 that had a meteoric journey.

The words of this song were put to music by Edwin Othello Excell. Edwin Othello Excell was born December 13, 1851 in Stark County, Ohio. He too was pastor's kid.

His father was Rev. JJ  Excell was the minister in the German Reform Church in Ohio. 

I would guess that it must be a popular hymn during the Thanksgiving holidays in America. A very fitting song to remind us of the many blessings we experience daily.


It is very easy to forget to Count Our blessings when we go through difficult times. The mind usually will focus on the slights and disappointments of life neglecting the multitude of good things that happen to us every day.


Below are the lyrics of this beautiful hymn, Count Your Blessings.

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.

Refrain:

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done!

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged. God is over all;
Count your many blessings angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Be Still For The Presence of The Lord Lyrics and Story

For me and many Christians I believe, Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord, ranks high among worship hymns of all time. It is a beautiful song with a clear and simple message.

It is a call for us to tune out everything and focus on the Lord. The Holy One is here and nothing else matters.

It is one of the most beloved modern hymns that are full of the teachings of the scripture. It reminds me of the tradition long gone where hymns were used as vehicles for spreading the teachings of the church.

The author of this hymn is David J Evans who wrote this song in in the 1980s.

The inspiration for this hymn is the story of Jacob fleeing from his brother. While in the wilderness he had a dream where he saw angels going up and down a ladder to heaven. The old Testament says, " ‘then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said “surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.”

This hymns was used as a call to worship in one of the churches I used to attend and has been one of my favorite hymns ever since.

Below are the lyrics of this powerful call to worship. For links to other songs please visit Popular and Old Hymns History.

Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here;
Come bow before him now with reverence and fear:
In him no sin is found - we stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.

Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;
He burns with holy fire, with splendour he is crowned:
How awesome is the sight - our radiant King of light!
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around. 

Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;
He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace -
No work too hard for him. In faith receive from him.
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.



My Faith Has Has Found A Resting Place Lyrics and Story

This hymn "My Faith Has Found A Resting Place" was composed by Elizabeth Edmunds Hewitt. Ms Hewitt’s pseudonym was Lidie H. Edmunds which is used in other copies of her hymns.

She was a native of Philadelphia where she was born on 28th June 1851.

Early in her life, Ms Hewitt suffered from spinal malady that incapacitated her for a long time.

It was while she was convalescing that she found her passion of writing poems for her church's primary department.  She later became a Sunday School teacher in the Presbyterian church.

This song is the result of one her poems and I know you will be blessed by it as millions have.
EE Hewitt

Below are the lyrics of this much loved hymn.

1 My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

Refrain:
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

2 Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out. [Refrain]

3 My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood. [Refrain]

4 My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave. [Refrain]

Below is a video featuring CA Murray singing this beautiful hymn. For links for most hymns on this site please click here.


Monday, 29 August 2016

I Vow To Thee, My Country Lyrics and Story

I Vow To Thee My Country is a hymn that emphasises the fact that Christians are citizens of two kingdoms, the earthly one and the heavenly one. 

This has created all sorts of tensions in the minds of Christians especially on how they are to relate to civil authorities. 

This hymn, I Vow To Thee My Country is a patriotic song that tries to show how these two loyalties operate. 

This hymn came from a patriotic poem written by Sir Cecil Spring Rice. It was set to music by Gustav Holst in 1921.

Sir Cecil Spring Rice was a British diplomat who later became the UK Ambassador to the United States of America. He used his influence to persuade Woodrow Wilson to join Britain in the war against Germany during the First World War. 

It was while in America that he rewrote this hymn in 1918 to concentrate on love and sacrifice rather than "noise of battle" and "the thunder of her guns".
Sir Cecil Spring Rice

This song was original known as Urbs Dei (The City of God) or the Two Fatherlands standing for the Christians loyalty to heaven and homeland.

Below are the lyrics of this hymn.

I vow to thee, my country, 
all earthly things above, 
Entire and whole and perfect, 
the service of my love; 
The love that asks no question, 
the love that stands the test, 
That lays upon the altar 
the dearest and the best; 
The love that never falters, 
the love that pays the price, 
The love that makes undaunted 
the final sacrifice. 

And there's another country, 
I've heard of long ago, 
Most dear to them that love her, 
most great to them that know; 
We may not count her armies, 
we may not see her King; 
Her fortress is a faithful heart, 
her pride is suffering; 
And soul by soul and silently 
her shining bounds increase, 
And her ways are ways of gentleness, 
and all her paths are peace.

If you are into patriotic songs here is another one, My Country Tis Of Thee.

Below is a video featuring, I Vow To Thee, My Country.

To God Be The Glory Lyrics and Story

There is something majestic about this hymn, To God Be The Glory. Every time I sing it I feel like I am in the very presence of the Lord. I can almost visualise the throne of God. 

I assume that the composer of this hymn Fanny Crosby must have felt the same way when she composed this hymn. This blind composer has blessed the Christian church very much with her hymns such as Blessed Assurance.

Fanny Crosby provided the lyrics while the tune came from William Howard Doane. Scholars believe that this hymn was written in 1872 even though it was first published in 1875.

In its early days it was Ira Sankey who popularised it by singing it during Dwight Moody's evangelistic campaigns. 

It however faded in public memory Cliff Barrows was handed a copy in 1954 with an intention to include in the songbook for Billy Graham crusades in London. 

Because of the popularity resulting from this Cliff continued to use it in subsequent evangelistic campaigns.

It is now established as one of the most popular hymns of all time.
Fanny Crosby To God Be The Glory

Below are the lyrics of this hymn:

Verse 1
To God be the glory, great things He hath done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Refrain
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.

Verse 2
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

(Refrain)

Verse 3
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

(Refrain)

Below is a video featuring this hymn, To God Be The Glory.


Be Still My Soul Hymn Story and Lyrics

"Be Still, My Soul" is originally a German hymn which reads in German, Stille meine Wille, dein Jesus hilft siegen. The author was Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel (1697-1768).

The English version that we have now is the fruit of the work of Jane Laurie Borthwick (1813-1897) who translated it in 1855.

It is a prayer to patiently put our trust in the LORD even in the day of adversity. It shows us that no matter what we go through ultimately there is a joyful end to our sufferings.

May this be the prayer of everyone else, be still, my soul, the LORD is on thy side. That ought to give us a blessed assurance that no matter what God is on our side. He always has been and He always will be.

Below are the lyrics of this hymn.

1 Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2 Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
his voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3 Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord;
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Below is a video of this popular hymn.


On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand (My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less) Lyrics and Story

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less or On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand is the best known hymn of Edward Mote who wrote it in 1834. The original title of this hymn was, "The Immutable Basis for a Sinner's Hope".

Edward Mote was the pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church in Horsham West Sussex in the United Kingdom.

It looks as if the inspiration for this hymn came from Christ parable of the wise and foolish builders. In the parable Christ speaks of the foolish builder who built his house on sinking sand while the wise builder built his on solid rock. As you would imagine a storm easily swept away the one built on sand.

Christ is the solid rock upon which we can build our house of faith. Any other foundation is like one on sand and will ultimately fail.

Edward Mote - On Christ the Solid Rock
On the authorship of this song Mr. Mote's explanation, communicated to the Gospel Herald, is:—
"One morning it came into my mind as I went to labour, to write an hymn on the ‘Gracious Experience of a Christian.' As I went up Holborn I had the chorus,

‘On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.’

Below are the lyrics of this popular hymn:

1 My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

Refrain:
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

2 When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]

3 His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]

4 When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain]

In the video below Reggie Smith sings this beautiful hymn at a 3ABN campmeeting.




In Christ Alone by Yvonne Lewis of 3ABN

In Christ Alone is probably the most popular Christian hymn at the moment in both the US and the UK. There are actually surveys that have it on position 1 among popular hymns.

This hymn is the result of a collaboration between Keith Getty of Northern Ireland and Stuart Townend of England in 2001. Both are hugely popular songwriters of Christian hymns and contemporary worship music.

In this collaboration, the music was by Keith Getty and the original lyrics by Stuart Townend.

The melody of this song has an Irish bent on it. I guess it is because the music was organised by Keith Getty who is Irish. Another Irish hymn that has conquered the world is Be Thou My Vision.

The song focuses on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It celebrates that fact that even in death Christ was a conqueror. Death could not hold Christ.

Stuart Townend is also the composer of another famous hymn, How Deep The Father's Love For Us.

In the video below Yvonne Lewis of 3ABN sings this popular hymn, In Christ Alone. This was during the Pillars of Our Faith campmeeting.