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Title: Hymn Stories of the Twentieth Century

Author: William J. Hart

Release date: January 31, 2018 [eBook #56479]

Language: English

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Hymn Stories of the Twentieth Century
Hymn Stories of the Twentieth Century


Member of the Hymn Society of America, author of
“Unfamiliar Stories of Familiar Hymns”

With a Foreword by

Publisher Logo

Publishers W. A. WILDE COMPANY Boston

Copyright, 1948
By W. A. Wilde Company
All rights reserved
Made in the United States of America


The Churches I Have Served as Pastor



The most important musical feature of any service of worship is the singing of hymns by the congregation. When voices are united in Christian song, hearts may readily be joined in common worship. Then it becomes much more than a musical feature. It becomes an act of worship. And all who thus sing are builders of a Temple of Tone wherein their own hearts become the altar, high and lifted up.

Before this great thing can come to pass, there must be a familiarity with the hymns—an appreciation of these “crown jewels of the church.” Anyone, then, who directs attention to Christian hymns and stimulates interest in them is adding to our resources for private and public worship.

The author of this volume is continuing and extending his Christian ministry by calling attention to the use of hymns and gospel songs on various occasions and exhorting us all to sing. He is a retired member of the Northern New York Conference of The Methodist Church, honored for his long and fruitful ministry, and beloved for his unfailing devotion to the spreading of the gospel through the still wider use of Christian hymns.

W. Earl Ledden.

Syracuse, New York



Introduction 9
Chapter I. Let’s Sing 13
1. They Sang with the Marine Band
2. Song of the Chaplain’s Wife
3. Our Popular Processional Hymn
4. Heard Lauder’s Song and Wesley’s Hymn
5. The Hymn with Exclamation Points
Chapter II. Morning Melodies 25
1. The Morning Call
2. Morning Hymn on an Ocean Voyage
3. Morning Songs Fill the Day with Music
4. Hymn Suggested by a “Blaze of Leafage”
Chapter III. Sunset Songs 32
1. Nature Gave the Perfect Touch
2. The Bells of Trinity
3. Singing Soldiers
4. Hymn Discussion at Oyster Bay
Chapter IV. Serenading the Soul With Song 39
1. That Was Yesterday!
2. Song of the Hidden Singer
3. Americans Sang with the Japanese Lady
4. Northfield’s Festival of Sacred Music
Chapter V. Hymns of Comfort 47
1. God’s Angels in Charge
2. Singing Welshmen at Oxford
3. Singing Amid Suffering
4. Songs of a Sorrowing Nation
Chapter VI. Occasions To Remember 58
1. “Abide With Me” in a Submarine
2. Wheel Chair Singers
3. Sang the Hymn from Memory
4. Hymn Expressed the Hearer’s Feelings
5. Hymn of the Homesick American
6. His Ordination Hymn
7. Soldiers Sang at Their General’s Funeral
Chapter VII. Hymns That Changed Lives 71
1. When Catherine Booth Made the Great Decision
2. His Song and Experience in a Coal Mine
3. Decision of the “Incorrigible”
4. The Hymn That Wrought a Miracle
Chapter VIII. Songs of Childhood and Youth 80
1. Song of the Child in the Shelter
2. What the Scouts Sang
3. “Jesus Bids Us Shine”
4. Men Loved the Kiddies’ Hymn
Chapter IX. Sang in Their Own Tongues 87
1. Chinese and Americans Sang a Negro Spiritual
2. Christmas Carols in Two Tongues
3. “Everybody Knows ‘Holy Night’”
4. Unifying Influence Of Song at Eastertide
Chapter X. Patriotic Music in War and Peace 93
1. Surprise for American Soldiers
2. “America the Beautiful” Heard at Arlington
3. An American Home on Invasion Day
4. “Our God is Marching On!”
5. “The Star-Spangled Banner” at War’s End
6. Kipling’s “Recessional”
Chapter XI. Thanksgiving in Song 105
1. Two Statesmen Sang “America”
2. Gunner Led the Song Of Praise
3. Minister Thrilled by Singing of Philadelphia Laymen
4. “We Love the Place”
5. Memorable Rendering of the Doxology
Chapter XII. Carols at Christmastide 115
1. Christmas Carols on Deck of Battleship
2. Christmastide Song of Blind Singers
3. Not Too Late to Hear the Christmas Music
4. Carol the Children Wanted
Chapter XIII. The Cross and the Church 121
1. Building Gone, but Hymn Remains
2. An Army with Banners
3. Church Cross Inspired Grocer’s Song
4. Visiting Singer Familiar with the Hymn
Chapter XIV. Easter With the Hymnal 127
1. Easter Song of a Centenarian
2. Easter in New Guinea
3. Eastertide Hymn at an Easter Funeral
4. Mother’s Hymn at Eventide
Bibliography 135
Index of Hymns 137


“That was heavenly,” said a Welshman at the close of a service of sacred song at which he had listened to the narration of incidents with apparent delight and had joyously joined in the singing. Hymns are a source of joy to persons of all ages; and youth and age alike enjoy singing them. The hymnal stands next to the Bible in the devotional reading of many people. Workers among young people find hymn stories to be an important feature of their work; and preachers know that an illustration relating to a hymn not only makes an effective appeal but is also long remembered. Short hymn stories give comforting satisfaction to sick people in their quiet chambers, especially when they can sometimes sing or hum them.

Great hymns belong to the ages. They are timeless, and always new stories are being associated with them. But this collection of stories does not range over the centuries; it comes from our own century almost entirely. The hymns are mostly old; but the stories are new. Two quotations indicate what a hymn is and its effects.

The following was adopted by The Hymn Society of America as its definition of a Christian hymn:

“A Christian hymn is a lyric poem, reverently and devotionally conceived, which is designed to be sung and which expresses the worshipper’s attitude toward God, or God’s purposes in human life. It should be simple and metrical in form, genuinely emotional, poetic and literary in style, spiritual in quality, and in its ideas so direct and so immediately apparent as to unify a congregation while singing it.”—Carl F. Price.


“Some kinds of music are like mental and spiritual food. They console us when we have lost someone dear to us. They inspire us to higher forms of living, which give us greater inner satisfaction. They stimulate us to make greater effort to overcome the immense difficulties in the future. This kind of music is beyond question of great value to every individual, community, and nation. This kind of music was bequeathed to us from many lands and is the birthright of everyone.”—Leopold Stokowski in “The New York Times Magazine.”

Hymn stories are related to a definite moment and to an unusual experience, such as the one which tells of the men in the submarine (p. 60); or that which relates how the visiting Scotsman thrilled the Presbyterian ministers in Philadelphia, and their kindled emotions found expression in a hymn (p. 109). Many of them came spontaneously from the heart, and thus they make a lasting impression.

Such incidents as these, coming from several lands, the author has gleaned from many sources, both American and British, and now he shares them with his readers. The sources from whence they came have been indicated, and his gratitude for the privilege of passing them on to others is very great.

The index will enable the reader to find the hymns included. The hymns themselves come from standard hymnals of the churches. A short bibliography is included. Among the books mentioned, that of Dr. Moffatt is especially useful, because it partakes, somewhat, of the nature of a short dictionary of hymnology. Professor Smith’s work is unique in its arrangements and will be particularly helpful to those preparing programs for special occasions. A copy of the handbook to the hymnal which the reader uses will prove to be very valuable.


The author gratefully acknowledges the helpful service rendered by the Rev. Herbert Harrison.

Readers will peruse with deep interest the Foreword written by Bishop W. Earl Ledden. His life has been intimately related to church music. During his student days in both college and theological seminary, he was actively associated with musical leadership. Since his election to the episcopacy, he has sometimes given addresses to group meetings of ministers and church lay leaders on the importance of appropriate music in church services. His words, therefore, come from the pen of one who has had ripe experience in the field of hymnology.

William J. Hart.

Lacona, New York



“So will we sing and praise thy power”

—(Psa. 21:13).

“Lend a voice to swell the chorus,

Chant the songs that time endears;

They were sung by those before us,

They will chime along the years.”

Arthur Guiterman in “The Classmate.”

“We have no surer link with our fathers of generations past, and with our fellow-Christians of to-day, than is provided by the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs which are our spiritual heritage.” —Preface to The Hymnary of the United Church of Canada.

“The echoes of your music die;

Some say, ‘The song is ended’—but

They do not know.

It lives on—in my soul;

And I stay nearer God

Because of it.”

Bessie C. Hicks in “The Church School.

Congregational singing, as we know it, we really owe to Luther and to Calvin. Dr. Arthur John Gossip.


They Sang with the Marine Band

The community Christmas Tree at Washington in 1946 afforded a pleasant occasion when it was illuminated. The scene was outlined for, probably, millions of listeners in all parts of the country. The nation was enjoying an unusually happy season, for though World War II had ended more than a year before, many of the nation’s sons and daughters who had taken a part in the terrific struggle had only recently returned to their homes. Wartime restrictions had made a tree impossible for a few years; and so this lighting of the tree at the capital was an enjoyable feature, and Washington, apparently, made the most of it. The evening was fair. The crowds were in attendance, and President Truman delivered an address.

The United States Marine Band played, of course, and the school children, in festive mood, sang, as well as others. The tree was ablaze with lights.

The ceremonies were announced to close with the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by the band, and the musicians began to play. Soon there came over the radio the humming of many voices, then the people began to sing as the band played. Gradually the volume of voices increased. And before the music ceased it sounded as though a mighty chorus expressed their pent-up feelings in the happy strains:

“Oh, say! does that star-spangled banner still wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

The joy of freedom was in their hearts and voices at that happy and memorable moment. Band and voices made mighty and glorious music for the many who sat in their homes and listened to the convenient radio.


Song of the Chaplain’s Wife

She was lonesome as she sat in the small parsonage. Her preacher husband had entered the army as a chaplain in World War II, and this little woman, like many others of that period, had several problems to solve. A family of small children had to be looked after. Furthermore, being a lay preacher, she had been asked to care for her husband’s church during the period of his service with the armed forces of the United States. Household help was almost impossible to secure; but, with the aid of a high school girl, mostly, she cared for the home, with its three small children, and also the church.

This little woman (for she was really small physically) was a trained musician. She could both play and sing, if need be, as well as preach. Natural was it, therefore, that she should turn to her hymnal as well as her Bible for needed strength of soul. She found it in a comparatively new hymn. Its prayerful spirit expressed the yearning desire of her soul:

“Come! Peace of God, and dwell again on earth,

Come, with the calm that hailed Thy Prince’s birth,

Come, with the healing of Thy gentle touch,

Come, Peace of God, that this world needs so much.”

She asked to have it sung when I led a devotional service. Then I later wrote her, asking: “What particular association has this hymn with your life?” Her answer was as follows: “It is a favorite hymn with me, partly because of the unusual and beautiful harmony to be found in the music, and partly because the words are my own prayer for the world, and also for myself, now that my husband is serving as a chaplain.”


Seeking information concerning the hymn itself, I turned to the informing work of Dr. McCutchen. There I learned that it “was written about 1928, when there was much talk about the peace of the world and a great desire for it amid the unrest of the nations.” The author, Miss May Rowland, submitted it in manuscript to the commission preparing the new hymnal of The Methodist Church, “and its inclusion in this book (1935) marked its first publication.”

The author of the hymn, and also the composer of the tune (“Pax”), are both residents of England, and each is a prize-winner. When The Hymn Society of America issued an appeal for a “Hymn for Airmen,” though there were more than twelve hundred competitors from all parts of the world, Miss Rowland won. Musicians were then invited to furnish a musical setting for the same. This contest was also world-wide, and Miss Lily Rendle was the winner. This was in 1928; and both women were greatly surprised to learn that they each lived in Bournemouth within a mile of each other, though they were born in different parts of the country. “Since that time their artistic association has been close.” One of their beautiful joint productions is this:

“The day is slowly wending

Toward its silent ending,

But ’mid its light declining

The evening star is shining:

O Father, while we sleep,

Thy children keep!”

World War II ended suddenly and dramatically. Soldiers were returning home in large numbers by the latter part of 1945. “Will Daddy be home for Christmas?” the 17 chaplain’s children began to ask. “We hope so,” was the cheery reply of the anticipating woman. “Perhaps he’ll even return for Thanksgiving,” she added.

One day early in November Chaplain Donald M. Cobb, of the United States Army, appeared at the parsonage in the little railroad center at Richland, New York. What an unspeakably happy moment for him, his wife, and the three growing children! Thanksgiving and Christmas would both be spent at home. Now a manly voice could blend with the voices of his wife and the growing girls, as that night the family circle gathered around the piano and sang:

“Come! Blessed Peace, as when, in hush of eve,

God’s benediction falls on souls who grieve;

As shines a star when weary day departs,

Come! Peace of God, and rule within our hearts.”

Our Popular Processional Hymn

The annual picnic in many of our American Sunday Schools has some features in common with the annual tea treat in the program of the village Sunday Schools in England. The latter, however, has some more spectacular features, such as the procession through the village streets headed, most likely, by a band as well as the minister and the superintendent. Whit-Monday is a favored time in many sections of the country for this eagerly anticipated event.

For such a day as this a young curate in Horbury, a Yorkshire village, was asked to select a hymn to be sung for the Whit-Monday occasion. He thought of a good marching tune, but he did not like the words. So he sat up late one night, composed his own song, and it was 18 sung the next day for the first time. That was in 1864; and it was published in The Church Times (October 15) that same year as a “Hymn for Procession with Cross and Banners”:

“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!”

This hymn rates high both in the United States and in England. St. Gertrude is ideally associated with the song. This tune came from Sir Arthur Sullivan; but someone has sagely remarked, “It took Baring-Gould to inspire Sir Arthur.” “As a hymn of inspiration it has no superior,” said Dr. E. S. Lorenz. More than half a century ago Dr. Charles S. Robinson made this illuminating comment: “It meets an American ideal, mechanically speaking, in that it is simple, rhythmical, lyric, and has a refrain at the end of each stanza.”

The little folks like to sing this song whenever they have the opportunity, and this is one of the hymns they often learn before they can read. “It is fundamentally a Sunday School song; but it has grown up and is now sung many more times in the congregation than in the Sunday school.”

Gloriously inspiring is it to hear a great company of people of all ages sing:

“Crown and thrones may perish,

Kingdoms rise and wane,


But the Church of Jesus

Constant will remain.”

Sabine Baring-Gould, the author (1834-1924) a graduate of Cambridge University, was a man of unusual versatility. Some of his experiences were exceptional. He had means at his disposal, and spent considerable time in his youth in France and Germany. Writing extensively, “it is said that he has more book titles listed in the literary catalogue of the British Museum than any other writer of his times.” Various parishes were served by him until 1881. He then exercised his rights “as squire of the estate in Lew Trenchard, Devon,” which he inherited from his father, and appointed himself as rector.

This historic incident has been preserved for us by Dr. E. S. Lorenz: “It had been carefully arranged by the Executive Committee of the World’s Sunday School Convention, held at Washington, D. C., in 1910, that the hymn ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers,’ should be sung in Sunday Schools in every part of the world on Sunday, May 22, of that year. For this purpose the hymn was translated and printed in more than one hundred languages and dialects. What a magnificent illustration of the solidarity of the Christian Church in a progressive, aggressive attitude!”

Heard Lauder’s Song and Wesley’s Hymn

“Before going to our watch-night services many of us heard Sir Harry Lauder singing his old favorite, ‘Keep right on to the end of the road,’ from ‘Though the way be long, let your heart be strong,’” wrote a woman at the beginning of 1947. She was thus reminded that though we take a long look backward at the close of a year, we 20 are also disposed to take a forward look when the New Year dawns.

Then the woman went to the watch-night service at the church. Soon she found herself singing with the others the hymn written for this occasion by Charles Wesley:

“Come, let us anew our journey pursue,

Roll round with the year,

And never stand still till the Master appear.

His adorable will let us gladly fulfill,

And our talents improve,

By the patience of hope, and the labor of love.”

Returning home, she confessed that she found herself with the feeling that the Scotch minstrel and the English hymn writer each had an appropriate message for the human spirit.

The Hymn with Exclamation Points

After Dr. Charles Kendall Gilbert was elected to succeed Bishop William T. Manning as head of the Protestant Episcopal diocese of New York in the latter part of January, 1947, The New York Times said in an editorial: “It will now be his responsibility to build his church on ever stronger foundations in a world beset by doubt, bewilderment and confusion. But it is also an inspiring task. The hymn sung before his election was dedicatory:

“‘Rise up, O men of God!

Have done with lesser things.’”

“That hymn will be sung when everything else about you is forgotten,” the great pulpit orator of Brooklyn, Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, once remarked to the author of the 21 vigorous hymn which both clergymen and laymen sang together on that responsible day.

“Every stanza has at least one exclamation point,” remarked Dr. Charles A. Boyd, when he called attention to this peculiar feature of the hymn written by Dr. William Pierson Merrill. In fact, out of the four stanzas in the copy now in front of the writer, two of these have two exclamation points each. The vivid style of this hymn, therefore, is an emphatic call for speedy action. The hymn was written to incite men to “do something,” and to do it without delay. Hence the call:

“Give heart and mind and soul and strength

To serve the King of kings.”

This hymn was written for a definite purpose and a particular occasion. It came to us early in the twentieth century when the Brotherhood movement was one of large proportions in some of the great denominations in the United States; and the large conventions which were held in vital centers of the country were scenes of tremendous enthusiasm. During that period Nolan R. Best, then editor of The Continent, remarked to Dr. Merrill that there was need of a Brotherhood hymn. The suggestion lingered in the mind of the latter. About the same time (1911) Dr. Merrill read an article by Gerald Stanley Lee on “The Church of Strong Men.” “I was on one of the Lake Michigan steamers,” Dr. R. G. McCutchen quotes him as saying, “going back to Chicago for a Sunday at my own church, when suddenly this hymn came up, almost without conscious thought or effort.”

Quickly the hymn made an appeal to various denominations, which included it in their revised hymnals. Other countries, also, approvingly placed this hymn in their 22 new books. Thus it is found in The Hymnary of the United Church of Canada, and The Methodist Hymn Book, London. Dr. Merrill once said, “It has given me very deep satisfaction to have the hymn obtain such general use. Several times each year I am asked for permission to include it in some new collection of hymns.” But, as Dr. C. M. Washburn has remarked, “Any hymnal is enriched because of the inclusion of these challenging lines.”

A newspaper reporter (Ernest J. Bowden) in an upstate city of New York has an assignment each Sunday to attend a selected church, and then write his impressions. He is peculiarly sensitive to the music rendered, and often makes illuminating comments on the same. He was peculiarly gratified when, on a December Sunday, he was assigned to a Presbyterian church to report a visiting minister. Thirty years earlier he had heard a new hymn sung in a city in California, and he had remembered the name of the writer. Now came the opportunity to hear him. After the service he met the author, and the two talked about Dr. Merrill’s choice hymn. The author told the newspaper man that while on a trip to Oriental missions he had heard this hymn sung in both Japanese and Chinese. Also, it was sung at a meeting in India which he addressed. At the close of the gathering Dr. Merrill said to the leader of the music, “It was very thoughtful of you to sing my hymn.”

“We didn’t know that you wrote it; we sang it because we like it,” was the reply.

“Better still,” continued Dr. Merrill. “That’s the finest tribute it could have received.”

This sketch was then given by the reporter of Dr. Merrill, in 1944, “He is a genial soul, free and friendly as 23 the gospel he preached in Brick Church, New York. He retired in 1938, and is now climbing toward eighty. But you would never think it to see him. His voice rang clear as a bell through every pew.” Then, speaking as a layman, he remarked: “When a group of men have been sitting for hours, or days, in conference, threshing over the routine of church or community, what more fitting climax could there be than the call to sing in parting:

“‘Rise up, O men of God!

Have done with lesser things;

Give heart and mind and soul and strength

To serve the King of kings.’”

The wide service rendered by this hymn to the Christian Church is indicated by the fact that when the Bishop of Ripon congratulated Dr. Merrill on having written such a choice and practical hymn, he said: “I use it at every communion service in my diocese where young people are received into the church.” Thus did the Episcopalian leader pay tribute to the appeal of the hymn written by the eminent Presbyterian author. Doubtless this hymn is destined to play a valiant part in helping to

“Bring in the day of Brotherhood

And end the night of wrong.”

I cherish a program sent me by a friend who lives in a Cornish town beyond the wide Atlantic. It outlined a great service of thanksgiving for the return of peace held in one of the largest churches in the county, when the several churches of the community participated. The rector of the parish and the several ministers of the town united in conducting a carefully prepared service of hymns, responsive 24 readings, prayers and addresses. Thus they that day remembered those who had fallen in World War II. Then, in closing, those men, women and youth, which packed the great building, led by a worthy choir, stood and sang the hymn of our American author:

“Rise up, O men of God!

The Church for you doth wait,

Her strength unequal to her task;

Rise up, and make her great!”

Then came the closing stanza, with also two exclamation points:

“Lift high the cross of Christ!

Tread where His feet have trod;

As brothers of the Son of Man,

Rise up, O men of God!”



“But I sing of thy strength,

a morning song to thy love.”

(Psa. 59:16, Moffatt).

“For lovely morning songs we have:


‘Come, my soul, thou must be waking;

Now is breaking

O’er the earth another day.’


‘When morning gilds the skies,

My heart awaking cries,

May Jesus Christ be praised!’


‘Fairest Lord Jesus,

Ruler of all nature,

O Thou of God and man the Son,

Thee will I cherish

Thee will I honor,

Thee, my soul’s Glory, Joy, and Crown.’

The third of these is something which seems to me a perfect hymn.”—From an address by Dean Howard Chandler Robbins at the Northfield General Conference, 1938.


The Morning Call

Her father was a lay preacher, and she, a school teacher, followed in his steps. She was in the pulpit on that Sunday morning when an American citizen visited the country of his birth, in the summer of 1946 to observe post-war conditions. He was now amid familiar scenes in the far south of England. The morning was full of glorious sunshine, and he went to church as he had done when a boy. Then he wrote an account of the service, and sent it to his home folks.

What, he wondered, would be the hymn which this “spiritually and mentally disciplined woman” might select for the opening of the service. That question was answered when this preacher-daughter of a preacher-father announced the charming lines of Geoffrey A. Studdert Kennedy:

“Awake, awake to love and work,

The lark is in the sky,

The fields are wet with diamond dew,

The worlds awake to cry

Their blessings on the Lord of Life,

As He goes meekly by.”

There the visitor blended his voice with some of those he had known in his boyhood days as they together worshipped in the village church. The preacher stood in the pulpit with the ease of one born to it, and “joined in the singing with the full-voiced enthusiasm of a thrush or mockingbird on a spring morning.”

This song is placed among the morning hymns in The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church (1940). 27 Imaginative and impressive is the language used in the second verse:

“Come, let thy voice be one with theirs,

Shout with their shout of praise;

See how the giant sun roars up,

Great Lord of years and days!

So let the love of Jesus come

And set thy soul ablaze.”

“Woodbine Willie” was the name, for some reason, given to the author when he became a chaplain in World War I. His was a charmed name in the army, and his experiences there “made him an enthusiast for peace.” He became a rector in London, and in 1924 he made a visit to the United States and added many persons to the long list of friends already his. Death came to him in Liverpool in 1929. Someone characterized him as “the wholly lovable prophet of social righteousness.” Through coming years he will continue to speak to the hearts of many who joyfully sing his inspiring morning hymn with its lilting tune.

Morning Hymn on an Ocean Voyage

Time for reflection is found on an ocean voyage, and, as the writer and many others can testify, lasting impressions are often made. Such an experience came to one who was making a trip around the world in the days between two world wars. “The sea,” said he, “was not a friend of mine as we rode the mountainous waves for nearly three weeks without a port of call.” Much of the time, indeed, he lay in his cabin simply watching the rising and the falling of the waves through the porthole.

A Sunday morning, however, dawned fair and bright; and he found himself “able to make his way to the top 28 deck for divine worship.” Never, he confessed, was he more deeply touched by a hymn than when the company of passengers, and some members of the crew, united in singing as their opening hymn:

“New every morning is the love

Our wakening and uprising prove;

Through sleep and darkness safely brought,

Restored to life and power and thought.”

The memory of that hymn proved to be cheering and invigorating. He later wrote: “How beautiful this sunny Sunday morning with no land, or fish, or bird in sight. Just the sun, the sky, and the sea. How sacred the upper deck seemed that morning! Can you not believe that I never hear this hymn sung without again feeling the waves lifting me, the scene crowding my brain with its poignancy—sea, sky, sun, and God’s care through another night on the ocean waves.”

A brilliant scholar was John Keble, author of “The Christian Year,” from which this hymn comes. It is regarded as one “of the greatest religious classics in the English language.” This tribute has been paid to this work by Nutter and Tillett: “What the Prayer Book is in prose for public worship, ‘The Christian Year’ is in poetry for private devotion.” Mentally suggestive are the lines which have such a direct relation to daily living:

“New mercies, each returning day,

Hover around us while we pray;

New perils past, new sins forgiven,

New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.”

Morning Songs Fill the Day with Music

Skilled in both the art and science of making lovely 29 gardens, Silas Kenton loved to sing while working. The story of this interesting English gardener was related by the Rev. S. Horton in “Say It with Song.”

“Good morning, Kenton,” was the cheery greeting of Lady Lawder, by whom he was employed, one day. Then she added: “You were singing early this morning, Silas. I could hear you as I lay in bed.”

“I hope I didn’t disturb your ladyship,” he answered. “I had forgotten the green-houses were so near your room. It was thoughtless of me and I am sorry indeed.”

“Well, it did wake me up, but I didn’t mind. What was it you were singing? The tune was familiar to me.”

“It was an old favorite of mine,” replied Silas:

“‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.’”

The musical gardener then made this observation: “You see, ma’am, when the world gets busy, there are doubtless thousands upon thousands of singers whose songs are rising like sweet music to the skies. I like to think that most mornings I’m one of the earliest of the Lord’s servants offering my tribute of praise. Besides I always think a few songs before breakfast fill the heart with music all the day.”

Hymn Suggested by a “Blaze of Leafage”

For eight months an English Episcopalian bishop confined to a Japanese prison saw no sunlight. But this prisoner of war did witness what he described as “a blaze of leafage on some trees.” This sight recalled to the mind of the bishop a hymn from the heart and pen of Charles Wesley:


“Christ, whose glory fills the skies,

Christ, the true, the only Light,

Sun of righteousness, arise,

Triumph o’er the shades of night;

Day-Spring from on high, be near;

Day-Star, in my heart appear.”

This experience which came to Dr. J. L. Wilson, Bishop of Singapore, who was representing the Church of England, stood out above all others, and represented the value of a mind stored with memories of hymns. Three thousand people listened most attentively for forty-five minutes in the City Hall, Sheffield, England, in September, 1946, as the speaker narrated experiences which can come only in war time.

A reporter was among those who heard with amazement the words of the bishop as he explained how, charged with being a “spy,” he was “imprisoned, tortured, and flogged with ropes almost beyond endurance” by the Japanese. Four thousand persons were crowded into a prison designed to accommodate seven hundred. They were a courageous company, however. “When men and women came downstairs bleeding from torture, they might not speak; but they smiled, and the others smiled back.” Bishop Wilson was the only “European among Malayans, Indians and Chinese.” But his fellow-prisoners, observing his firmness and forgiving spirit, asked him to teach them to pray.

Bread and wine were lacking, but Bishop Wilson used tea or water in the celebration of the Holy Communion on Sundays. “It might be irregular,” the speaker remarked with a smile; but he could not be convinced that it was not valid. A Christian girl, he learned, was there for helping the British, and the elements were passed through the prison bars to her.


The hymn which lifted the soul of the imprisoned bishop above his immediate surroundings came from the singing spirit of Charles Wesley, and appeared in 1740 in his “Hymns and Sacred Poems.” The hymnology of both British and American Methodism is enriched by the inclusion of this song of worship; and it is also found in the Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church, The Hymnal (Presbyterian), The Hymnary (of the United Church of Canada), The Inter-Church Hymnal, etc. The three verses will be found “full of the sunshine of which they sing,” observed Dr. Charles S. Robinson. Lovers of literature will be especially interested in a comment made by Dr. James Moffatt, where he says, “George Eliot uses this hymn in Adam Bede describing how Seth Bede, the young Methodist, on leaving his brother one Sunday morning in February, ‘walked leisurely homeward, mentally repeating one of his favorite hymns.’ It was this one.

Easy is it, therefore, for us to imagine Bishop Wilson, the liberty-loving Englishman, confined to a sunless prison in a foreign country, catching a glimpse of “a blaze of leafage on some trees,” then refreshing his singing spirit by mentally repeating the lines which he had often joined with others in publicly singing when a youth in his homeland:

“Dark and cheerless is the morn

Unaccompanied by Thee;

Joyless is the day’s return

Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;

Till they inward light impart,

Cheer my eyes and warm my heart.”

“Stone walls do not a prison make” when one has a song in his soul. And he who knows his hymnal well has one for every occasion.



“In the night I sang of him.”

(Psa. 42:10, Moffatt).

“One of the most successful numbers sung in the series of Sunday evening concerts, which for several years it was my privilege and pleasure to sponsor, was that old English hymn, ‘Now the Day is Over.’ That hymn marked the close of each Sunday night concert, and the thousands of letters I received from listeners throughout the country gave sure evidence that this old religious song struck a responsive chord in the heart of listeners everywhere.” A. Atwater Kent in a broadcast on “Radio’s Influence on Music.”

A group of young men from an English theological college, the “Cliff College Trekkers,” went, during the summer of 1936, to Morecambe, and there this band of energetic youth held Sunday services on the slipway.

Evening prayer was also held by them at the slipway, and one who was present expressed gratitude through the press for the privilege of sharing these moments of quiet devotion. Following prayers, the entire company united in singing:

“All hail the power of Jesus’ name.”

People who had listened to the inspirational hymn were doubtless singing in their hearts, as they walked to their seaside residences, the glowing words:

“And crown Him Lord of all.”


Nature Gave the Perfect Touch

Some of the great moments of a lifetime were experienced by lovers of sacred music on an evening in late June, 1931, at the stadium of Cornell University. The Westminster Choirs, arrayed in their resplendent robes, sang under the leadership of the distinguished conductor, Dr. J. Finley Williamson. A representative of The Syracuse Post-Standard thus sketched the event for his newspaper:

“The scene:—Eleven harps were ranged on the velvet green in front of the singers. The skies were hung with black clouds for a canopy. The soft beauty of the marvellous scenery, as far as the eye could reach, surrounded all. Lightning darted through the clouds, and the low rumble of thunder was a background for the celestial music of the harps as they played the hymn:

“‘Day is dying in the west;

Heaven is touching earth with rest:

Wait and worship while the night

Sets her evening lamps alight

Through all the sky.’

“When the voices, in unison with the harps, hummed the melody, it was something to be cherished in memory. Words fail to describe adequately the impression. It was the perfect touch that only nature is able to give to human effort.”

During such sublime moments the musicians passed to the close of the hymn:

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!

Heaven and earth are full of Thee!

Heaven and earth are praising Thee,

O Lord most high!”

The music combined with the display of nature to induce 34 a mood which brought God very close to his earthly children that June afternoon.

The Bells of Trinity

Startled as he wandered rather aimlessly amid lower New York, a distinguished visitor listened to the Bells of Trinity Church as they joyously pealed forth the strains of:

“Hark, hark, my soul! angelic songs are swelling

O’er earth’s green fields and ocean’s wave-beat shore;

How sweet the truth those blessèd strains are telling

Of that new life when sin shall be no more!”

The music fell with soul-stirring effect on the ears of Dr. John A. Hutton, long-time editor of The British Weekly, who was in the United States, as he frequently was in summer-time, to fulfill engagements in preaching and lecturing.

The location of Trinity Church, whence came the eventide music, deepened the interest in the hymn. Said Dr. Hutton: “I was hearing the Lord’s song just where the Lord’s song stands in most need of being heard, and just where the Lord’s song sounds most sweetly. I was hearing the Lord’s song in a strange land.” Down opposite Wall street, “Where Mammon holds the throne, dwarfed and almost overshadowed by immense business and financial houses, rises the spire of Trinity.” Hence, “where men were engrossed in the things of time and sense, there fell upon the ear a song that spoke of heaven.”

The most popular setting in America for this hymn is “Pilgrims” by Henry Smart, with what H. Augustine Smith calls its “plaintive wistfulness.” This hymn therefore, according to Boyd, “appeals to both the poetic sense and the musical ear.”


Personally I have seen congregations deeply moved as they have joined in singing, at an evening service of worship:

“Angels, sing on! your faithful watches keeping;

Sing us sweet fragments of the songs above;

Till morning’s joy shall end the night of weeping,

And life’s long shadows break in cloudless love.”

Singing Soldiers

Fifteen soldiers were gathered together on a Thursday evening in a little French village behind the line during the First World War. Forming themselves into a semicircle around the chaplain, Thomas Tiplady, who has described the scene in “The Cross at the Front,” they made choice of the hymn they would like sung to open their devotional meeting. Then they joined in singing:

“At even, ere the sun was set,

The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay;

O in what divers pains they met!

O with what joy they went away!

“Once more ’tis eventide, and we,

Oppressed with various ills, draw near;

What if Thy form we cannot see?

We know and feel that Thou art here.”

The evening was still, and the voices of the men playing football not far away were heard, as well as the sound of guns. Yet as the men sang the birds were also singing in some neighboring trees. Chaplain Tiplady makes this observation: “To him who has only sung this hymn in a church much of its beauty must of necessity be hidden. It is revealed only in the light of the setting sun. The men 36 were facing the Golden West. The pomp of the dying day lay upon the rustling leaves of the trees and upon the grass at our feet. It lit up with beauty the faces of the men as they sang. Soon it would be gone, and the shadows would wrap us round as with a mantle.” But those Englishmen in France sang their faith and prayer:

“Thy touch has still its ancient prayer,

No word from Thee can fruitless fall;

Hear in this solemn evening hour,

And in Thy mercy heal us all.”

Hymn Discussion at Oyster Bay

Captain Archibald W. Butt, personal aide to President Theodore Roosevelt, spending a week-end at the Roosevelt residence in Oyster Bay, N. Y., accompanied the family to a morning service of worship on July 27, 1908, at the Episcopal Church. Mrs. Roosevelt was a member of this church. Mr. Roosevelt was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, but when in Oyster Bay he used to worship with the family; and so, on this occasion, he took Captain Butt, also an Episcopalian, with him. Later in the day Captain Butt referred to the hymns sung in the service, and, being from the South, made this observation: “I think the South likes strong, sentimental hymns, while every one which was sung at Oyster Bay had some poetic value.”

Theodore Roosevelt sang hymns with zest, and enjoyed variety. On this day, however, he declared that his favorite hymn was:

“Christ is made the sure Foundation,

Christ the head and corner-stone,

Chosen of the Lord, and precious,

Binding all the Church in one;


Holy Sion’s help for ever,

And her confidence alone.”

This is a translation from an old Latin hymn by Dr. John Mason Neale. Information concerning this hymn by Dr. Charles S. Robinson is as follows: “It is more popular in England than it is on this side of the water, except, perhaps, among Episcopalians, who, as a denomination, seem very fond of it. It is used for corner-stone services, and for dedications and the like, with much acceptance.”

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!”

was given by Mr. Roosevelt as his next choice. But he also expressed admiration for “Jerusalem the Golden,” and very naturally for a man of his type:

“The Son of God goes forth to war.”

Mrs. Roosevelt, on the other hand, named as her choice:

“Nearer, my God, to Thee;”

and also:

“Art thou weary, art thou laden,

Art thou sore distrest?

‘Come to Me,’ saith One, ‘and coming,

Be at rest.’”

“For the first time I realized that I had no favorite hymn,” said Captain Butt in a letter which he wrote to his mother that very night; and which, fortunately, has been preserved in “The Letters of Archie Butt.” He added: “I have thought of it during the day, and I believe that I shall take ‘Nearer, my God, to Thee,’ as my 38 favorite. It appeals to the sentimental side of me at least.”

“I think I should like to have sung at my funeral, ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee,’” said Butt in this letter. Singularly enough, this was the last music which he heard played before he died. He was drowned when the Titanic sank; and the ship’s band, which had been playing popular music during the fateful period after the great ship had struck an iceberg on a Sunday night, rendered as its last selection, when the boat was going down and carrying hundreds of the passengers and crew to a swift death in the Atlantic:

“Nearer, my God, to Thee.”

The following interesting observation, which I have not elsewhere seen, is made by Lawrence F. Abbott, who edited “The Letters of Archie Butt”: “It is said by survivors of the Titanic that as the ship was going down Captain Butt ordered the band to play the music of this hymn.”

Most fruitful was the discussion of hymns held at Oyster Bay on that July Sunday afternoon and evening. As a result we know the first choice of Theodore Roosevelt of the many hymns he loved; the hymns which most appealed to Mrs. Roosevelt; and on that eventful day Archibald Butt made his decision in favor of the hymn which went with him to his death in the Atlantic Ocean.



“In London Town there are always queer, unexpected things to be seen and heard. The other day my wife and I went out to lunch, and we were waiting in a queue. Suddenly above the noise of the busy street we heard a tin whistle being played. The tune was ‘O Jesus, I have promised’—and it was played very well, too. This was followed by ... ‘Jerusalem the golden.’ I looked, but couldn’t see the musician.

“The queue moved up, and I was afraid I wasn’t going to see the tin whistle expert at all. But just as we got level with the door I did see him. He was now giving a spirited rendering of ‘The Church’s one foundation’—and he was a grey-headed old Negro. He wore what had been a very smartly cut officer’s tunic. The tune finished, the old fellow sat down on a doorstep.

“Where, I wondered, had he learned these hymn-tunes? And where had that Lascar seaman in the street in West Hartlepool learnt ‘There’s a Friend for Little Children?’—for he was humming it as he passed me by.” F. H. E. in “The Methodist Recorder,” London.

Nothing is more beautiful than the sight of a company of Christians singing their hymns of praise. Roy L. Smith.


That Was Yesterday!

“Why, Samuel!” exclaimed the surprised wife of the beloved Bishop Samuel Fallows, one morning.

The story as related by Dr. Roy L. Smith referred to a night when the ageing bishop returned from a rather stormy meeting. Harsh things had been said, and he appeared thoroughly discouraged. Entering the home, his wife, with womanly instinct, sensed the situation. The bishop even went to bed without partaking of his usual cup of hot milk.

Full of understanding sympathy, his wife expected him to remain in bed a little later than usual, and possibly have breakfast taken to him. But when she quietly entered his room, he was pulling the “weights of his ancient exercise machine.” Meanwhile he was singing:

“Come, Thou Fount of every blessing;

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace,

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.”

All this was so unexpected that the good and anxious woman, in her astonishment, could only say, “Why, Samuel!”

“Why what?” questioned the bishop, without missing a beat in the rhythm of his morning exercise.

“Why that board meeting last night. I thought you would stay in bed this morning, and try to get a bit of rest.”

“That board meeting, what about it?” he asked, as he came to a halt.

“Why it must have been terrible. You came home utterly spent and discouraged,” was the reply.


Resuming his exercise, the bishop quietly remarked, “O that was yesterday.”

The gentle man would not permit what happened yesterday to take from him his praiseful song.

Therefore as he continued to pull his exercise machine he resumed the singing of his hymn:

“Here I raise mine Ebenezer;

Hither by Thy help I’m come;

And I hope by Thy good pleasure,

Safely to arrive at home.”

Song of the Hidden Singer

A woman of culture was standing in a large London store waiting to be served. The customers were many, and some of them became impatient. Tired and irritated, occasionally someone would make an unpleasant remark.

Somewhere up toward the roof, a workman, invisible to the one who narrated the incident, was busy making structural alterations. Said Mrs. G. Elsie Harrison: “As he worked above us, like some ham-strung lark, he carolled.” The notes that fluttered down to her were:

“Tell me the old, old story

Of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory,

Of Jesus and His love.”

Old memories were revived by the song. Mrs. Harrison thus indicated her own experience: “In one moment the arrogant shoppers had vanished. I was at home again, and saw my mother at the piano, and heard the music which only she could make to sound so reverent. Her generation really meant it when they sang:


“‘Tell me the story softly,

With earnest tones and grave;

Remember, I’m the sinner

Whom Jesus came to save.’”

To them it was a real sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and the music matched the mood.

Popular with older people, this hymn of Miss Katherine Hankey, an English lady, has also been a favorite with children. The tune to which it is mostly sung was composed by William H. Doane, an American musician.

The London singer was hidden, and singing just for himself. But the song brought back beautiful memories to at least one woman amid the crowd of shoppers.

Americans Sang with the Japanese Lady

A lady from Japan, Madame Yoshika Saitó, Tokyo, was one of the distinguished visitors to the historic Uniting Conference of The Methodist Church in Kansas City, May, 1939. She was introduced by Dr. James R. Houghton, Boston University, who had charge of the music; and Dr. Houghton announced that the visitor would sing “Alleluia” by Mozart.

Dr. Robert Bond, a former president of the Methodist Conference, England, was so impressed by the Japanese lady that he wrote back to one of the periodicals of his native England saying: “Madame Saitó, both by her personal charm and her exquisite voice, captured the Conference.

Madame Saitó, responsive to the purpose and the spiritual atmosphere of the Uniting Conference, then followed with the verse of a hymn, which she sang both in her native tongue and also in English:


“I need Thee every hour,

Most gracious Lord;

No tender voice like Thine

Can peace afford.”

Bishop Charles L. Mead, the presiding officer, suggested that the Uniting Conference would probably like to sing the verse and the chorus with the visitor. Soon the Japanese lady, the nine hundred delegates, and thousands of visitors were singing together:

“I need Thee, O I need Thee,

Every hour I need Thee;

O bless me now, my Saviour,

I come to Thee!”

“It was one of those rare moments,” said Dr. Bond to his English readers, “when a great tide of emotions sweeps over a big assembly and carries it out of itself.”

Northfield’s Festival of Sacred Music

The Northfield Festival of Sacred Music when introduced into the program of the Northfield General Conference in the decade preceding World War II proved to be a thrilling moving event. Coming on the closing Sunday of the many summer programs, it brought immense crowds to the annual gathering at East Northfield which D. L. Moody made so popular by the list of distinguished speakers that he enlisted from British and American pulpits and educational institutions.

The fact that the Westminster Choir Summer School was holding its sessions at Mount Hermon, just a short distance across the river, with Dr. John Finley Williamson at its head, made possible Northfield’s festival of sacred music. Choirs from neighboring communities united 44 with the group at the summer school, and for six weeks five hundred singers prepared for the memorable occasion.

Twice the writer was in attendance. Much alike each year, yet particular interest attached itself to 1937. This was the season of the D. L. Moody Centenary Celebration, and the fifty-eighth session of the Northfield General Conference. The Festival Choir was divided into a few different groups for various purposes. Yet when the hymns were sung these all participated, and the audience was invited to join them.

Within five minutes after the entrances were opened the great auditorium was filled. People also stood in a solid line near the walls. Newspapers reported that about two thousand additional people also stood outside in the hot sun during the rendering of the program, a part of which was broadcast.

The audience, inside and outside the building, had its first opportunity to sing when they united in Luther’s soul-stirring hymn:

“A mighty fortress is our God,

A bulwark never failing.”

The singing company made the most of it. “The very walls shook,” said my friend in the next seat.

The next hymn selection was that which came from Toplady. This the audience knew well, and sang with affectionate enthusiasm:

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.”

Happy was the surprise which came with the next hymn. Mrs. W. R. Moody, daughter-in-law of D. L. 45 Moody, seated herself at the keyboard of a small instrument which, before it was opened up, looked like a big packing case. Really it was the small organ which accompanied Moody and Sankey during their nation-wide evangelistic campaigns; for the latter always wanted, if possible, to have his own instrument with him. Hence the little organ was made for this purpose. The instrument had been on display in the Moody exhibit at Moody’s boyhood home during the special days of the Moody Centennial. Visitors could there sit in the spacious chair used by Moody himself, sign their names; and, by permission, play on Sankey’s organ. Musicians loved to do so. The Westminster singers now rendered the beloved gospel song:

“There were ninety and nine that safely lay

In the shelter of the fold,

But one was out on the hills away,

Far off from the gates of gold—

Away on the mountains wild and bare

Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.”

Joy beamed on the countenance of Mrs. Moody as she led the singers on the historic little organ; and the song continued through the lines:

“But all through the mountains, thunder-riven,

And up from the rocky steep,

There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven.”

The conductor at this point gave a signal to the enraptured audience, and everybody joined the special singers in the triumphant lines:

“‘Rejoice! I have found my sheep!’

And the angels echoed around the throne,

Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own.”


This musical climax was dramatic. The great company had evidently coveted the privilege of singing with Sankey’s organ, and particularly in joining in this song. Now it came, and they made the most of it. “Singing such as that I never expect to hear again this side of heaven,” said a woman whose soul had caught a vision of the lost sheep which had, at last, been found.

Just one more hymn remained to be sung before the Choral Benediction of Peter Lutkin was rendered by the great chorus. This was the familiar hymn of Isaac Watts, which we sang to the tune of Hamburg:

“When I survey the wondrous cross,

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.”

“Both hymn and tune are universal favorites,” affirmed Dr. Charles A. Boyd after he examined sixteen hymnals and found the hymn in each of them. In all but two it was set to Hamburg.

Three verses of the hymn were sung, as requested, very softly. Then the last verse was sung louder, until, in mighty volume, the long-remembered service closed with the lines of personal consecration:

“Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.”



When I received word of the death of my son, in a distant land, I turned to your book of hymn stories, and was comforted.—From the personal letter of a friend.

In the darkest hours of the war Mr. Winston Churchill (then prime minister) would steal away an hour or two to hear the songs he loves.—The British Weekly.

“When I cannot sleep at night I silently repeat hymns,” once said Mrs. Margaret E. Sangster to a caller. First in the list, she intimated, was the cherished hymn of John Newton, who “loved much because he was forgiven much”:

“How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

In a believer’s ear!

It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,

And drives away his fear.

“It makes the wounded spirit whole,

And calms the troubled breast;

’Tis manna to the hungry soul,

And to the weary, rest.”


God’s Angels in Charge

A characteristic of Alice Freeman Palmer, who at the age of twenty-six became the President of Wellesley College, was her calmness. What would terrify another would leave her undisturbed. From her early girlhood she had learned the lesson of Christian trustfulness. Her husband, Dr. George Herbert Palmer, who wrote the story of her life, records the fact that one day, while at her summer home at Boxford, she was ill in bed. A thunderstorm came swiftly out of the southwest and struck the house, and the room next to her own was destroyed. “She seemed at the time much interested in the novel event, as if it were something contrived for her entertainment.” After her death, however, he found among her papers a hymn with that date attached. This was sung at the memorial service held in Harvard Chapel; and Doctor Palmer printed it under the title of “The Tempest.” Suggestions from the Psalms find expression in this poem, and the opening lines conform closely to Psalm 91:11, which reads:

“For he will give his angels charge over thee,

To keep thee in all thy ways.”

The hymn of Mrs. Palmer reveals a spirit of confidence in the power and love of God, and she felt comforted by the fact that she could nestle into the strong arms of God. These are her words:

“He shall give His angels charge

Over thee in all thy ways.

Though the thunders roam at large,

Though the lightning round me plays,


Like a child I lay my head

In sweet sleep upon my bed.

“Though the terror come so close,

It shall have no power to smite;

It shall deepen my repose,

Turn the darkness into light.

Touch of angels’ hands is sweet;

Not a stone shall hurt my feet.

“All Thy waves and billows go

Over me to press me down

Into arms so strong I know

They will never let me drown.

Ah, my God, how good Thy will!

I will nestle and be still.”

Singing Welshmen at Oxford

A scene which greatly impressed him was related by Frederick M. Davenport, a former member of congress, when he returned from a trip to England late in the summer of 1937. Mentioning the distressed area of the coal district of South Wales, he said:

“As we were leaving Oxford one morning there appeared on the station platform about a hundred young Welshmen between eighteen and twenty years of age. They were dressed in the garb of manual laborers, and held rough baggage in their hands. Their home was in South Wales, but they had been in Oxford working on a government project and were leaving for a holiday.

“Nearly all Welsh are singers, and these young men were no exception. After a few jolly songs directed at their leaders, as their train was nearly due to leave they massed themselves together and sang magnificently:

“‘Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,

Pilgrim through this barren land;


I am weak, but Thou art mighty;

Hold me with Thy powerful hand;

Bread of heaven,

Feed me till I want no more.’

“For the time being they were unemployed at home,... but they were full of confidence and good will.”

This hymn, “a genuine heart song,” comes from Welsh sources; and one of the tunes to which it is sung, “Cwm Rhondda,” composed by a Welshman, is a favorite among Welsh people.

The group of young Welshmen who sang in Oxford that day, while some Americans were among the listeners, showed a courageous spirit, a love of hymns, and a devotional attitude. Doubtless their song was a prayer of the heart:

“Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah.”

Singing Amid Suffering

“She truly learned in suffering what she taught in song,” someone remarked concerning the author of the hymn:

“There is no sorrow, Lord, too light

To bring in prayer to Thee;

There is no anxious care too slight

To wake Thy sympathy.”

The Rev. J. H. Jowett, D.D., the great expository preacher who left his Birmingham pastorate in England to serve the Fifth Avenue pastorate in New York City during the second decade of the twentieth century, made this his favorite hymn. Few knew hymns, especially of a devotional nature, better than he.


This hymn came from the pen and heart of Jane Fox Crewdson. Cornwall was her birthplace, 1809; but after her marriage to a merchant of Manchester at the age of 27, she lived her life in that city until her death in 1863. Many years of her life were spent in the sick room. Gifted with poetic talent, she wrote many poems and hymns. Most of these were “composed amid paroxysms of pain.”

Most appropriately did a Presbyterian minister in an American city, where he had served for 24 years, select this hymn for Memorial Day Sunday in 1947. At the entrance to the building a member of the church had placed a basket of lovely flowers before the bronze tablet which recorded the names of men who had served in the World Wars. Comforting must have been the words of Mrs. Crewdson’s hymn to those who had suffered the loss of those dear to them in the war period:

“Thou, who hast trod the thorny road,

Wilt share each small distress;

The love which bore the greater load,

Will not refuse the less.”

Not simply in the land where the author lived and wrote are her hymns found, but this one also appears in The Hymnal (Presbyterian) in the United States and The Hymnary of The United Church of Canada. Dr. James Moffatt quotes from an unnamed author this testimony relating to the writer: “As a constant sufferer, the spiritual life deepening, and the intellectual life retaining all its power, she became well prepared to testify to the all-sufficiency of her Saviour’s love.” Hence we can appreciate what has been said concerning the third verse, namely, “There is infinite pathos packed into these lines:

“‘There is no secret sigh we breathe,

But meets Thine ear divine;


And every cross grows light beneath

The shadow, Lord, of Thine.’”

Songs of a Sorrowing Nation

“You can tell the kind of a man he was from the hymns he loved. Our organist and our choir know. He felt those hymns inwardly.” These words were spoken by the 78-year-old rector, the Rev. George W. Anthony, at the morning service of worship conducted by him on Sunday, April 15, 1945, in St. James Episcopal Church at Hyde Park, N. Y., within a few minutes after President Franklin D. Roosevelt was laid to rest in the “rose garden” on his own estate.

Probably never before did the people of the United States hear so many of the hymns of the Christian Church played so frequently as during those days of sorrowing for the President of the nation who died suddenly on April 12. They began to be heard soon after the first announcement was made to a stunned people, and continued until Sunday, the 15th, when the beloved leader was buried amid the scenes he loved. Commercial programs were cancelled, and the radio devoted itself to news concerning the passing of the president and events thereto related. “The Star-Spangled Banner” and familiar hymns, mostly the favorites of President Roosevelt, were frequently heard.

Hymns were intimately associated with each movement of the body as it made its journey from Warm Springs, Georgia, where the president died, until it reached its final resting-place. When on Friday the folks of the community assembled to witness the departure of the train which would carry him to Washington Chief Petty Officer Graham Jackson, a Negro, who was a favorite with Mr. 53 Roosevelt, stepped from the circle of mourners. He had with him his accordion which Mr. Roosevelt loved to hear him play. Now, as a last tribute, he “played the haunting strains of ‘Going Home’ from the New World Symphony. Then he played, ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’”

Great crowds gathered to witness the passing of the train which bore the body toward Washington. They were reverent and tearful. A rather striking incident occurred at Charlotte, N. C., where the train moved slowly through the station without stopping. Street intersections were thronged for blocks with mourners. The silence was broken as the train passed by a troop of assembled Boy Scouts who started to sing, “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” and “the crowd took up the hymn in a ringing chorus.”

When the caisson which bore the body from the railroad station at Washington halted “before the main white-columned portico the casket was borne into the White House by uniformed members of the armed services.” The Navy Band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then, outside on the lawn, “a service band played an old tune, ‘Abide with Me.’”

The U. S. Marine Band which was present when the train arrived at Washington followed the national anthem with “The Old Rugged Cross” as the casket was placed on the black-draped military caisson.

Because the hymns used at the funeral service in the White House on the afternoon of Saturday, April 14, were familiar, The Right Rev. Angus Dun, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, who was in charge, with other clergymen assisting, mentioned the fact that these hymns were favorites of Mr. Roosevelt, and invited the assembled company to join in the singing. The Navy Hymn, “Eternal 54 Father, Strong to Save,” and “Faith of Our Fathers” were sung at this time.

Next day the body of President Roosevelt was back in Hyde Park. The great chieftain had reached journey’s end. “Between the manor house and the new library is the rose garden where the grave has been dug,” said The New York Times. And there at ten o’clock on Sunday morning was brought the body of the man who loved to visit this garden when the flowers, especially the roses, were sending forth their beauty and their fragrance. Probably it was because of this fact that many radio programs and church services placed in their musical programs the familiar sacred song:

“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.”

At the head of the procession in Hyde Park, as the body was taken from the train to its resting-place, was the Army band from West Point, with “its members in uniforms composed of dark blue tunic, lighter blue trousers with white stripes. Their silver instruments gleamed.” First there were the sounds of muffled drums. Then the band took up Chopin’s “Funeral March.” Six hundred West Pointers “formed a solid phalanx facing the grave from the west. The brief rites were conducted by the Rev. George W. Anthony, the venerable rector. It was brief and simple. As the body was lowered into the grave he intoned the opening lines of the widely used hymn of John Ellerton:

“Now the laborer’s task is o’er;

Now the battle day is past;


Now upon the farther shore

Lands the voyager at last.

Father, in Thy gracious keeping

Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.”

“Hymns had been the life-long study and delight” of Ellerton (1826-93), an English Clergyman of the Episcopal Church.

A file of West Pointers fired three volleys. “As the last volley sounded, as if it were one shot, muffled drums beat again. At the head of the grave a bugler sounded taps.” Then, as Stevenson wrote, “Here he lies where he longed to be.”

The hour of morning worship in St. James’ Church was near, and so many of the people went to the little church for the 11 o’clock service. The building was crowded. But “the Roosevelt pew was empty. Here Franklin Roosevelt sat, boy and man, for almost sixty years.” An American flag marked the pew on this day. Congregation and choir sang, “How Firm a Foundation.” When he announced “O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee,” the clergyman stated, as he glanced toward the Roosevelt pew, that the hymns selected were loved by Mr. Roosevelt. “He is now at rest in the community which he loved,” said the speaker.

The next hymn sung is not widely known in this country outside the Episcopal Church, though it is found in The Church Hymnary, Scotland. Its author was Arthur Campbell Ainger (1841-1919), who after his graduation from Cambridge University spent most of his life in teaching at Eton. He was “one of the most distinguished of Eton masters, a man of clear head, controlling character, wide accomplishments,” and he also wrote several hymns. The hymn begins:


“God is working His purpose out

As year succeeds to year.”

The minister related the fact that Mr. Roosevelt loved growing things, especially; and called attention to the extraordinary coincidence that the church envelopes for that day carried a “Garden Prayer”: “Help us, O Lord, to grasp the meaning of happy, growing things, that we may weave it into the tissue of our faith in life eternal.... We thank Thee, O Lord, for gardens and their message.”

A soloist now sang, “O Rest in the Lord.”

Howard Graves moved to the corner beside the altar and bore a large American flag forward in the chancel. The ushers took their places beside him. The choir, the organ and the congregation merged in fervent chorus with “The Star-Spangled Banner.” A prayer, and the service closed.

“He was a good friend. He was a good neighbor,” said a parishioner as she left the sanctuary with tear-dimmed eyes.

Hymns were sung by an all-high-school chorus at City Hall Park, New York City, on Saturday afternoon, following the one minute of silence, and these included “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” Fifty thousand people were present and many joined in the singing. A memorial service was held in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and seven thousand people were gathered an hour before the service began on Saturday afternoon at four o’clock. The hymns there sung were “Nearer, My God, to Thee”; “Rock of Ages,” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” Communities all over the nation also held services at the hour when the funeral was held in the White House and in thousands of churches, public squares and parks, after 57 the moment of silence in which traffic was hushed, and men and women stood with bowed heads, some of the hymns already mentioned were sung. “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” was sometimes included. Many of these programs also included “America the Beautiful,” and, of course, our beloved national hymn, “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.”

Those who could not leave their homes were still enabled to listen to these services (and perhaps join in the singing of the hymns). “The networks,” said an editor, “gave an impressive picture of the tribute being paid to a departed leader from one end of the country to another. One joined the solemn throng in front of the City Hall in New York, or sat in a great cathedral in Boston. Swiftly from the Eastern seaboard to the Far West, the radio gave us glimpses of memorial services in Chicago, in Kansas City, in Dallas and in Seattle.”

An appreciative letter to an editor by a woman said of those days from the death to the burial of Mr. Roosevelt, “Along with our grief and tears we were given an uplift such as the broadcasting companies have never given us before for a period of time like that.”



“Once I remember taking a service while the shells screamed over us into Ypres. And as the men were singing:

“‘Cover my defenseless head

With the shadow of Thy wing,’

one that fell short came hurtling, landing not two yards away—a dud.”—Dr. A. J. Gossip in “The British Weekly.”

“What was the greatest moment of all?” That was the question put to General Evangeline Booth of the Salvation Army when she was 81 (Christmas Day, 1946), by Dorothy Walworth, who narrated the interview in The Christian Herald.

Retired, yet in good health and still working hard, this magnetic speaker, whom I once heard as she thrilled a mighty audience with her fervent oratory, paused a moment. As daughter of the founder, and later his honored successor in its leadership, there had been many high moments. Then came her answer with conviction as she related that her finest experience came on a day which she spent in the Leper Colony in Poethenkuruz, in southern India, where a chorus of little leper girls had been trained to sing one of the hymns she wrote for the Army. They stood before her in their dainty white dresses. Faces and 59 hands were badly scarred, “but their voices were clear and true. As they reached the words in the hymn:

“With all my heart, I’ll do my part,”

They put their tiny scarred hands over their hearts, and I was overcome,” said Miss Booth.

Princess Elizabeth (prospective Queen of England) was married to Prince Philip on November 20, 1947. This was the centennial of the death of Henry F. Lyte. The Princess, therefore, arranged for the rendering of his hymn:

“Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,

To His feet thy tribute bring,”

when the bridal party entered Westminster Abbey. “This same hymn,” said The Diapason, “was also sung at the wedding of King George and Queen Elizabeth.”


“Abide with Me” in a Submarine

Fiction has rarely given us anything more arrestingly strange than the following narration of a few minutes of life with their bewildering experience. The story was related in The Methodist Recorder, London, in its issue of December 19, 1946, and is here reproduced in the exact words of the writer, Campbell Marr of Kirkaldy:

“In the early days of the war (World War II) a British submarine was trapped at the bottom of the Heligoland Bight through an unlocated defect in the machinery. In frantic despair the engineers endeavored to find the fault, but without success.

“When the oxygen supply was almost exhausted the lieutenant in charge assembled the crew and told them that the situation was beyond all hope. He gave each man an opiate so that death might be made easier. Someone started to sing that very popular hymn:

“‘Abide with me,’

and they all joined in. Suddenly one man swooned, and fell into the machinery and immediately the lights went on and the engine commenced to buzz. The man in his fall had operated a lever which in the light of the hand torches had been overlooked.

“In a few minutes they had surfaced, and were thanking God for their miraculous deliverance. Many of these men are now back in civilian life, and not one of them is ever likely to forget that grand old hymn.”

Wheel Chair Singers

We looked long at the unusual picture which stood out prominently on the front page of our morning newspaper (an AP Wirephoto). The item carried the heading which we are using. A group of twenty-five singers was shown, and they all sat in wheel chairs. They were all polio 61 patients, and among them were several naval officers. A special article in The New York Times supplied additional details.

The courageous singers were seated in the little white chapel in Warm Springs, Georgia, where President F. D. Roosevelt last attended a service of worship. Now, two years after his sudden passing, a memorial service was being conducted for him. This was on April 12, 1947, and three hundred polio victims and villagers were present—the patients also occupied wheel chairs. An overflow company of two hundred were outside on the greensward in front of the chapel, and listened to the service which was conveyed to them by loudspeakers.

The pew in which President Roosevelt always sat when he was at Warm Springs was reserved. Warm Springs was the place to which he often went when making his heroic fight with his affliction. The health-giving sources which he there found were greatly helpful. It was there that death came suddenly to him; there the Little White House stands; and there State Guards have maintained constant vigil since his translation. The American flag was on that day at half staff at the unpretentious cottage where he spent restful, though busy, days.

The leader of the Wheel Chair Choir, Mr. Fred Botts, also occupied a wheel chair as he directed his group of plucky singers—young people who were there for treatment. For the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation is the largest center in the world for the treatment of poliomyelitis. Thither go patients from every state in the union.

One newspaper supplied the thing I wanted to know, for I wondered what hymns would be sung by such an exceptional choir—young people fighting with determination for their health and their future. First came:


“Faith of our fathers! living still.”

The second hymn which the Wheel Chair Singers led the congregation in singing on that pleasant April day was one which is peculiarly impressive:

“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;

In every change He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly Friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”

This hymn by Katharina von Schlegel appeared in 1752, and very little is known of the writer. It was “adequately translated” by Jane Laurie Bothwick (1813-1897) of Edinburgh. While visiting Switzerland, a friend suggested that she translate some German hymns in which she was interested. Therefore she and her sister, Sarah Bothwick Findlater, worked together in translating Hymns From the Land of Luther.

Comforting and challenging must have been the appeal to the hearts of the crippled patients as there came to their lips the words of the second verse:

“Be still, my soul, thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as he has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul: the winds and waves still know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

Times there are in life when not only the occupants of wheel chairs, but also the rest of us, may serenade our souls by singing or quoting that bravely suggestive line:


“Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake.”

Sang the Hymn from Memory

When Theodore Roosevelt was running for the presidency in 1912, he spent a weekend with William Allen White in Emporia, Kansas. The plan was to take him to the Congregational Church on Sunday morning for worship, but the guest asked if there were not a German Lutheran Church in town.

“There was, and I took him there,” said White.

A feature that impressed the host is related in The Autobiography of William Allen White. Both building and congregation were small. Naturally everybody stared at Roosevelt in amazement. But the preacher lined out the hymns, and White was delighted to note that Roosevelt stood with the congregation and sang three stanzas of

“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!”

without taking up the hymnal. He showed no hesitation concerning the words.

Perhaps, however, White did not know that the hymn was one of Roosevelt’s favorites. Both Andrew Jackson and Robert E. Lee were fond of it; and it was used at the funerals of both Lee and Roosevelt.

Its frequent use in services of worship in the United States is indicated by the fact that it is placed second in the Inter-Church Hymnal by Morgan and Ward (1930).

An early memory of the writer is that of an old man at a large religious gathering. During the evening this hymn was sung. He stood erect and with face aglow as he joined in the singing. He had seen much of life and doubtless realized from personal experience the reality of 64 the words he was singing. Possibly he was recalling some specific hours in life; for when the third verse was reached, he lifted his face and continued to sing with others:

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,

The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;

For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”

The tears now began to flow down his cheeks; but he sang clear to the closing lines as he continued to wipe away the tears:

“The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose

I will not, I will not desert to his foes.

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never, forsake.”

This is a good memory hymn, for its assurances are fitted to many situations and emergencies of life.

Hymn Expressed the Hearer’s Feelings

“That hymn expresses exactly what I have felt for years. How often I have wanted ‘A little shrine of quietness, all sacred to myself.’ How often have I wanted ‘a little shelter from life’s stress.’”

That was what a hearer said to a New Jersey minister, the Rev. Daniel Lyman Ridout, at the close of worship during which the clergyman read the words of John Oxenham, while his daughter accompanied him on the piano “with reverent insight”:

“Mid all the traffic of the ways—

Turmoils without, within—

Make in my heart a quiet place,

And come and dwell therein.”


Oxenham’s hymn expresses the desire of the soul in life’s supreme moments. This hymn was written during World War I, when the “sorrow of the human race was most acute.”

Writing under the name of John Oxenham, the author’s real name is William Arthur Dunkerley. Following his education in Victoria University, Manchester, he followed a business career. He spent some time in the United States, and also traveled extensively in Europe and Canada. “He began writing as a relief from business,” we are told. Finding that he enjoyed writing more, he “dropped business and stuck to writing.”

A most unusual note is sounded in this hymn. The heart of the mystic calls for:

“A little shrine of quietness,

All sacred to Thyself,

Where Thou shalt all my soul possess,

And I may find myself.”

In a little private chapel down in the south of England he found the little “shrine of quietness” which he coveted. Thence he would go to “sit and think,” and realize his desire for:

“A little place of mystic grace,

Of self and sin swept bare,

Where I may look upon Thy face,

And talk with Thee in prayer.”

Hymn of the Homesick American

Leading representatives of every department of English public life assembled to do honor to one “who had 66 labored, during the six years he had been ambassador, to promote good-will between the sister nations.” This was on May 6, 1905, when Joseph Hodges Choate was entertained at a farewell banquet in London. He had attained high distinction as a lawyer and achieved great prominence in public life in the United States when, in 1899, President McKinley appointed him ambassador to Great Britain. There he became a “messenger of good-will” in a very marked degree.

The scholarly orator, arising to speak, confessed that he was resigning because he was homesick. Then he explained: “My friends on this side of the water are multiplying every day in numbers and increasing in the ardor of their affection. I am sorry to say that the great host of my friends on the other side are as rapidly diminishing and dwindling away:

“‘Part of his host have crossed the flood,

And part are crossing now;’

and I have a great desire to be with the waning number.”

This was an effective use of words from a great hymn which Mr. Choate, a Harvard graduate, evidently well knew. The incident has been preserved for us by the Rev. John Telford. They came from the hymn of Charles Wesley, which begins:

“Come, let us join our friends above

Who have obtained the prize.”

This was the hymn that John Wesley and his congregation in Staffordshire were singing at the hour when Charles Wesley, its author, joined the company in heaven. Once, when in Dublin, John Wesley announced this hymn, and making some comments on the same affirmed that it 67 was “the sweetest hymn” his brother ever wrote. That lover and critic of hymns, W. T. Stead, reports that the Bishop of Hereford wrote him that he thought that the fourth verse “was one of the finest in the whole realm of hymnology.” This runs:

“One army of the living God,

To His command we bow:

Part of his host have crossed the flood,

And part are crossing now.”

Students in the classes of the beloved Samuel F. Upham, professor in Drew Theological Seminary, will readily recall how he, in advancing age, with characteristic fervor and deep emotion, occasionally quoted the third and fourth lines of this cherished verse. Stevenson, in his informing discussion of the Wesley hymns, has given us a great variety of incidents associated with this song, and refers to it as “that great and impassioned hymn.”

His Ordination Hymn

The day of his ordination is a sacred one in the life of a minister. It marks the time when he is definitely set apart for a very sacred task for the balance of his life. Therefore the events of that day are deeply embedded in the life of the individual who is henceforth to proclaim the gospel.

Reference was made by Dr. William Pierson Merrill, then pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, on October 26, 1930, when the fortieth anniversary of his own ordination was observed, to the special hymn which was sung on that occasion. Written by the scholarly Dr. Timothy Dwight, it has held a secure place 68 in the hymnology of the Christian Church. The words deeply impressed him as a young man when they sang:

“I love Thy kingdom, Lord,

The house of Thine abode,

The Church our blest Redeemer saved

With His own precious blood.”

Speaking of what the hymn had meant to him through the years of his pulpit and pastoral experience, he said: “I believed then, I am far surer now, that this is the attitude for every Christian, and everyone who would do his best for the common good. You cannot afford to neglect the church.” Then once more the hymn was sung.

Deep in the affections of thousands of Christians there dwells this love for the church of the living Christ. Therefore through the decades since this hymn was written Christians have assembled in their various places of worship, and have meaningly and happily sung:

“For her my tears shall fall;

For her my prayers ascend;

To her my cares and toils be given;

Till toils and cares shall end.”

Soldiers Sang at Their General’s Funeral

The great military leader who had a premonition that he would die in battle came to his death as the result of an accident sustained soon after the close of World War II. Generals and colonels were the pall bearers of General George S. Patton, Jr., when he was laid to rest on Christmas eve, 1945, in the American Military Cemetery near Luxembourg. Six hundred men who had served under General Patton in combat formed an honor guard; and his grave “was no different from six thousand others 69 which marked the resting-place of soldiers from his own beloved Third Army.”

Funeral services were held in Christ Church, Heidelberg, Germany, on December 23rd, and those were extensively reported for the Associated Press. Two army chaplains were in charge. Mrs. Patton, who sat in the front of the church, “turned her head to look at the choir loft when a soldier choir of thirty-six voices” began to sing the first hymn:

“The strife is o’er, the battle done;

The victory of life is won;

The song of triumph has begun.


“This is one of those Easter hymns which is included in almost every hymnal, but which is actually used much less than it deserves,” remarks Dr. Charles A. Boyd. Tersely he adds: “It is a historic treasure, one of those Latin hymns so old that nobody knows the exact age.”

When the choral group from the Seventh Army began to sing:

“The Son of God goes forth to war,

A kingly crown to gain;

His blood-red banner streams afar:

Who follows in His train?”

the khaki-clad officers and men who filled Christ Church, where the Episcopal service was conducted, joined in singing the familiar hymn. Onward to its concluding lines they sang with mighty voice:

“A glorious band, the chosen few

On whom the Spirit came,


Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew,

And mocked the cross and flame;

They climbed the steep ascent of heaven

Through peril, toil, and pain:

O God, to us may grace be given

To follow in their train!”

The comment of Dr. Charles S. Robinson concerning this hymn merits consideration: “This is one of Bishop Reginald Heber’s finest lyrics, ranking in the estimation of many with that anthem-like composition, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.’”

The two hymns mentioned were sung at the request of Mrs. Patton, who stated that these were the two hymns which her husband most loved.

The soldiers lifted the flag from the casket, “and held it a few inches” above the lid when the burial service occurred at Luxembourg. The 63rd Psalm (General Patton’s favorite passage of Scripture) was intoned by Chaplain Edwin R. Carter. The military men bared their heads, and the service closed with the Lord’s Prayer. “With the ending of the prayer, the soldiers folded the flag and handed it to Mrs. Patton.... A bugle sounded taps for the fallen leader.... The Russian, British and French generals, their great coats gleaming with medals, held themselves strictly in salute until Mrs. Patton turned to leave.” The body of the American general was now resting beside that of an American private.

Details will gradually be forgotten by those who witnessed them, or followed the reports in the daily newspapers; but Americans will love to recall the favorite hymns of a beloved military leader who participated in a most significant manner in the events of World War II.



Twice it has been my privilege to go to the Fiji Islands, the second time just passing through on the ship. I never forgot the things told me on my first visit. A hundred years ago all over the island of Tonga the people were cannibals, but I saw Christian schools and colleges, in one of which I addressed 400 girls, from 13 to 19 years of age, who worked up to matriculation standard. When I had finished speaking they sang to me a Fijian farewell song. Then I saw these 400 big girls in their blue tunics scampering over the green, skin ebony black, teeth ivory white. Their parents were all slaves; their grandparents cannibals, but these girls burst into spontaneous singing and the words they sang were:

“What a wonderful change in my life has been made,

Since Jesus came into my heart!”

Rev. Norman Dunning, at the Sudan Interior Mission.

The Christian Herald, London.

Presiding at a great meeting in City Road Chapel, London, in 1933, when the object was to inform the audience what was being done among the men of the army, the navy, and the air force by the churches, Mr. Joseph Rank opened by giving his own experience. One Sunday evening he went to hear the famous and eloquent Hugh 72 Price Hughes, who long conducted a successful mission in London. Before he began to preach, the company sang:

“’Tis the promise of God, full salvation to give

Unto him who on Jesus, His son, will believe.

“Hallelujah, ’tis done! I believe on the Son;

I am saved by the blood of the crucified One.”

“While singing it with the rest,” said Mr. Rank, “the question came to me, ‘Can you truthfully say that?’ By the time we came to the chorus again, I had the peace that passeth understanding. I had the same warmed heart that John Wesley got, that Luther got, and that thousands of others got in the same way, through believing in Jesus Christ.”

When Catherine Booth Made the Great Decision

A Salvation Army Band led the singing and a Salvation Army officer delivered the address at one of the three meetings held in connection with the 150th anniversary of Stockwell Green Congregational Church, London, during the summer of 1946. Very special reasons lay back of the recognition of the Salvation Army on that occasion, for in that church the wife of General William Booth made the “great decision”; and in front of the speaker was the pew bearing the number 23 where Catherine Mumford always sat with her family. She was also a teacher in its Sunday School. In that church on one June day she was converted, and on another June day she was married to the Rev. William Booth, a young Methodist minister. The future years led these two young people, one a Congregationalist and the other a Methodist, in paths of Christian service beyond their utmost dreams.


Catherine had a gloriously happy memory in the hymn which led to her conversion, and rejoiced in its emphatic assurance, as expressed by Charles Wesley:

“My God, I am Thine;

What a comfort divine,

What a blessing to know that my Jesus is mine!

In the heavenly lamb

Thrice happy I am,

And my heart it doth dance at the sound of His name.”

This hymn has always been popular in British Methodism, and in the latest edition of their hymn-book (1933) it is set to the tune of Harwich. Telford characterized it as “a hymn with an extraordinary history of blessing ever since it was written.” One can easily imagine, therefore, with what delight the young convert could henceforth sing the second verse:

“True pleasures abound

In the rapturous sound;

And whoever hath found it hath paradise found.

My Jesus to know,

And to feel His blood flow,

’Tis life everlasting, ’tis heaven below.”

His Song and Experience in a Coal Mine

“The greatest English poet of his age,” said Dr. James Moffatt when speaking of William Cowper. But this same writer gave us some of our most cherished hymns. They are greatly beloved in our American churches as well as in his native land. Among those richly cherished and frequently used in worship is the one which deals with Divine Providence:

“God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.”


This hymn “has helped multitudes to bear up under the blows of apparently adverse fortune,” we are told by W. T. Stead. Referring to the verse which reads:

“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break

In blessings on your head,”

we are told that “It has been much used in times of danger and distress.”

In confirmation of this statement, we have the experience of the Rev. Eric Kinworthy, Rotherham, England. This personal incident won first prize among six hundred hymn stories submitted to The Methodist Recorder, London, in a “Readers’ Christmastide Symposium,” December, 1946. We give the story in the words of Mr. Kinworthy, who indicated the effect it had on his life:

“As a boy in my ’teens my work was that of a pony-driver in the local coal-mine, and being a lover of horses, my work-mate and I were on good terms. Usually we were kept very busy, for two ponies and their drivers were needed to keep the colliers supplied with empty tubs, and to take away the full tubs from the coal-face.

“One afternoon, since but few of the men were at work, Captain, my pony, was well able to do the work by himself. The other pony was allowed to stay in the stables. As we went on our way to the end of the level with a full load, I was singing a hymn.

“Suddenly, there was an awful crash. We were jerked to a standstill. It was impossible to see anything until the dust cleared. In a little while, I found the roof had caved in, and resting on top of the first two tubs was a huge stone weighing about two hundredweights. Other big 75 stones were lying around. I was badly frightened, but realized my life had been wonderfully spared from death or certain injury. If the pony had not increased his pace a moment or two before, nothing could have saved us. I had been singing a moment before—

“‘God moves in a mysterious way.

His wonders to perform.’

Immediately I knelt in the dust and dedicated my life to God. He had spared me for some high purpose. Today I am trying to fit in, in that great purpose, as a minister.”

Decision of the “Incorrigible”

One of the great hymns of the twentieth century, and one which attained immediate popularity, the author tells us, was “written for a Consecration Service at Boston University School of Religious Education in 1926.” The opening lines begin with a striking question and a significant answer:

“‘Are ye able,’ said the Master,

‘To be crucified with me?—’

‘Yea,’ the sturdy dreamers answered,

‘To the death we Follow Thee.’”

Many interesting stories have gathered around this hymn, written by Professor Earl Marlatt, then of the Boston University School of Theology. Among these stories, which he treasures, was one given to me by Professor Marlatt, with full permission to use the same. Therefore I give it in his own words: “One of my former students, serving as a chaplain in Sherborn Prison for Women, wrote me a letter to say that she had used this hymn in a Sunday vesper service at the prison. Two hours 76 later she was called to the cell of one of the so-called ‘incorrigibles.’ The girl was very quiet now and soft-spoken.

“‘I suppose you were surprised to have me call for you,’ she said to the chaplain, ‘and I don’t wonder. I’ve never done much with religion. If I had I wouldn’t be here, probably. That song we sang tonight made me see what the things you believe can mean to people like me. Please tell your friend, that he’s never seen me, but he wrote that second verse for me.’

“She repeated the second verse from memory:

“‘Are ye able to remember,

When a thief lifts up his eyes,

That his pardoned soul is worthy

Of a place in Paradise?’

“Just thank him, please, and tell him I’ll try to remember and be different.”

Few hymns have so captured young people as this one, and they love to sing it. The refrain, especially, makes an appeal to them, and with glowing radiance on their faces they happily sing:

“‘Lord, we are able’

Our spirits are Thine,

Remold them, make us,

Like Thee, divine.

Thy guiding radiance

Above us shall be

A beacon to God,

To love and loyalty.”

The Hymn That Wrought a Miracle

The Wembley Stadium is known as a great sports center in England. With it, however, there is associated a very 77 remarkable story of the effect of one of our choicest hymns. English periodicals have reported this incident under the headings of “The Miracle at Wembley” and “The Song in the Stadium.” Naturally the story is associated with an individual, who in this case is Mr. T. P. Ratcliffe, “the conductor in tennis flannels,” and dates back to a “memorable day at the Wembley Stadium, in April, 1927, when the crowd numbered 96,000 people.”

Refusing to be discouraged by the statements of his friends, that “singing at Wembley would not be a success,” this leader of community singing had his great audience begin with “Pack Up Your Troubles,” and followed with other popular songs of the day. The people liked it. Said he: “On my right, 48,000 waved their song-sheets and shouted ‘Cheerio’ to a similar number on my left.”

This period of singing was about to close, when, greatly daring, the leader announced that they would, in conclusion, sing the “grand old hymn, ‘Abide With Me.’” He was about to ask all to stand, when, glancing at the Royal box, he saw King George V rise and bare his head.

The hymn created a great depth of religious feeling. Said the leader, as quoted in The British Weekly: “Wembley became for the moment a great open air cathedral.” One who knew the circumstances remarked: “If ever any felt a possible incongruity in the singing of ‘Abide With Me’ by almost 100,000 people on a football ground and in between two exciting parts of a game that awakened an immense sporting enthusiasm they should listen to some of the stories of the influence of that hymn under those conditions.” One of those related was particularly arresting.

This concerned a man who was in a muddled condition 78 because of drink, but the strange experience of “singing a church hymn on a football stand apparently sobered him.” And an usher stated that he pulled off his cap for the final stanza.

Two years later Mr. Ratcliffe, the leader, was singing in a mission hall in the north of England, and a lady who was present asked him to her home to visit her husband. When he reached the house her husband, Bill, with shining eyes, grasped the visitor’s hand, and expressed his happiness. He was the confused Wembley singer, and he thus related what happened to him: “When you sang ‘Abide With Me’ something snapped. I could never explain, but I felt myself a new man. The singing of the first verse recalled my Christian parents, and a godly home, while the second brought before me my unhappy wife and children. I tried to join in the third verse which was a prayer just suited to me.” This is the verse which begins:

“I need Thy presence every passing hour:

What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?”

Bill’s wife then explained how she was affected as she took the visitor to the window, and told how she was waiting Bill’s return. She expected that when she saw him he would be “in his usual state.” But as he turned the corner he was running and singing, and when he entered the house he kissed her, and, between sobs, told her what had happened.

Later years have found him in the home three times, said this visitor in the latter part of 1945. The three children were taught to call him “Uncle Tom.” Each time he visited the family the little girl got the large Bible and read one of the miracles of Jesus. Then the father 79 would put an arm around the group of children and narrate the “miracle” that happened to him at Wembley “when the football crowd sang ‘Abide With Me.’” “Uncle Tom” would then sing the hymn that caused the miracle.



“One Sunday evening a farmer was teaching his little girl the hymn, ‘A charge to keep I have.’ When they came to the verse:

“‘To serve the present age,

My calling to fulfill;

Oh, may it all my powers engage

To do my Master’s will!’

the godly father told his daughter that the Creator had brought her into the world that she might fulfill that verse. The child believed it. And because that verse took possession of that little girl and started her on a great career, Frances E. Willard stands in perpetual marble in Statuary Hall in the Capitol at Washington, the one woman in the nation’s Hall of Fame.”—The Homiletic Review.

A little lad, according to the story related by Bishop William Burt, loved to sing. He had a particular fondness for one hymn, and hence he often sang around the home the hymn which he had learned in Sunday School:

“Jesus, Lover of my soul,

Let me to Thy bosom fly.”

The parents, naturally, were delighted to have their growing boy displaying his gift of song; but he sometimes sang at what appeared to them to be inopportune moments. For instance, one night the family were going to 81 a party, and the little fellow was warned not to sing on that occasion.

During the evening, however, the boy was in a corner of the room, and, being alone, began to sing his beloved hymn in a clear, sweet voice. Those present were delighted at the pleasing incident. When, however, the boy observed his parents look at him, somewhat reprovingly, he said to them, “I didn’t mean to do it, but it sang itself.”

Song of the Child in the Shelter

“Mummie, do you think they would listen if I sang for them?”

“Oh, no, of course not,” was the mother’s reply. “You can’t sing here,” she added.

Mother and her little girl were in an English air raid shelter and the wartime experience was a new one for the perplexed child. England was being terribly bombed in the spring of 1941, and on this occasion more than a hundred people, highly nervous, were trying to meet their fears with loud conversation, shouting, laughter, and some kind of singing. The scene of commotion distressed the little girl, and she wished the people were less noisy. A British writer told us what happened.

The conversation of mother and daughter was overheard by a woman who was sitting near by. Turning to the mother the woman said, “And why should she not sing?” Immediately, therefore, she stood up, called for order, and invited the little girl to sing.

The child, very shyly, advanced to the middle of the shelter, and clasped her hands, as though in prayer. Lifting her sweet childish voice she sang:

“Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me;

Bless Thy little lamb tonight;


Through the darkness be Thou near me;

Keep me safe till morning light.

“All this day Thy hand has led me,

And I thank Thee for Thy care;

Thou hast clothed me, warmed and fed me;

Listen to my evening prayer.

“Let my sins be all forgiven;

Bless the friends I love so well;

Take me when I die to heaven,

Happy there with Thee to dwell.”

Silence immediately prevailed. Hearts which were unmoved by the confusion of the earlier noises were touched by the song of the child. Their spirits became responsive, for a little child had led them in a song which was both a prayer of thanksgiving and reverent petition. Mary Lundie Duncan, who was the daughter of one minister and the wife of another, wrote this hymn, as she did others, for her own children. “In every word it breathes the childlike spirit.” Dr. James Moffatt, speaking perhaps more for his native country than for America (though the hymn is found in the section for children in some of our American hymnals), said that this is “the first evening prayer that thousands of little children learn.”

What the Scouts Sang

Sea Scouts accompanied Boy Scouts to a morning service of worship on a February Sunday, 1947, and thus “gave modern color to the old-world dignity” of a very beautiful Presbyterian Church in an American city. It was also the first Sunday in his new pastorate of a man who had served during World War II with anti-aircraft units in the Southwest Pacific. Thus everything combined to make 83 the occasion memorable. Said the minister to the Scouts: “In my work as chaplain I found it was boys with Scout background who stepped forward and offered to be of service. And a marked proportion of distinguished service medals were awarded to former scouts.”

But the “sermon found its devotional climax,” we were told, “in the hymn of consecration” selected to be sung. This was written by a great lover of youth, the Rev. Charles A. Dickinson, D.D. Born in Vermont, July 4, 1849, he graduated from Harvard University. In the latter part of his life he established his residence in California. The hymn sung was:

“Blessed Master, I have promised,

Hear my solemn vow;

Take this pledge of mine and seal it

Here and now.”

“The outstanding characteristic of this hymn is the absolute finality of the solemn dedication to Christ. It is ‘here and now’ that the irrevocable decision is made,” commented Covert and Laufer. But the hymn closes with a prayer for strength to keep the pledge made:

“Let no worldly cares or pleasures

Call my heart away;

Save me, Lord, and keep me faithful

Day by day.”

“Hearts have been deeply stirred by the use of this hymn at the monthly consecration service of Christian Endeavor societies, for which it was evidently designed,” we are told. It was a good hymn for the Scouts to sing on that winter morning.


“Jesus Bids Us Shine”

This large family lived about equi-distant from four towns on a quiet inaccessible rented farm along the river. It was while I was visiting the country school that I first got acquainted with some of the children. They told me about their youngest sister, who had had infantile paralysis. After getting rather minute directions from the older brother, I finally found the isolated farm home.

Alice was five years old and as bright and as ardent a little child as I ever knew. She was very easy to make friends with and I soon began to teach her the first verse of the children’s song, “Jesus Bids Us Shine.” When I came to the line, “You in your small corner, and I in mine,” I would point first at her and then at myself. She got a great “kick” out of this and set herself to learn the words and the tune. I visited with the older folks a while, went out to the barn with the farmer to look at his stock, ate dinner with the family, but in between times I kept trying to teach little Alice the first verse of that song. Finally she could sing it with the assistance of her older sister.

About a year later I went out to the Anderson home but found that Alice had been taken for treatment to the children’s hospital at the University. I went back a year later, and this time I found that an ambulance had come after her that very morning. Perhaps six months later, I was again slowly taking the deeply-rutted road. She came limping toward me as fast as she could, which was not very fast. Hobbling down the lane on her one good leg with the aid of a considerably improved other leg, she called out to me with ardent pride, “I can sing that song. I can sing that song!

And she could:


“Jesus bids us shine, with a clear pure light,

Like a little candle burning in the night;

In this world of darkness, we must shine,

You in your small corner, and I in mine.”

And she didn’t forget to point at me either!

Otis Moore in Zion’s Herald.

Men Loved the Kiddies’ Hymn

“I have seen an officer in mid-years almost break down in tears because I casually quoted the ... hymn:

“‘Now the day is over,

Night is drawing nigh;

Shadows of the evening

Steal across the sky.’”

Such was the testimony of Chaplain Thomas Tiplady, who was with the British forces in France during World War I. He gives the reason for this when he says that the man’s mother had for several years repeated the hymn to him every evening.

But most of the soldiers liked this hymn. Particularly impressive is the account given of the time when the men assembled for worship in a little church at Achicourt, about a mile out of Arras. There the men often gathered, even though the building had been badly shattered. A final service was held, and the benediction had been pronounced. Then the chaplain said: “Before we part and before we leave Achicourt which has meant so much to us of joy and sorrow, let us sing a kiddies’ hymn.” It was not in their books, but the leader read it verse by verse, and the men sang. One may easily imagine their deep feelings as they united in the words:


“Grant to little children

Visions bright of Thee;

Guard the sailors tossing

On the deep blue sea.”

The testimony of the chaplain to the effects produced by that hymn is as follows: “I have witnessed many moving sights in my time and heard much deep and thrilling music but I have never been so deeply moved by anything as by the deep, rich voices of these gallant men and boys who, after winning the Battle of Arras, had come into this ruined church and were singing this beautiful kiddies’ hymn as their last farewell.”



What seems to me important and inspiring is that in hours of deep religious emotion Christian faith in different nations should find expression in the same words.

The Christian Advocate.

Wondrous power of music!...

It touches the chords of memory, and brings back the happy scenes of the past.

In the rude mining camp, cut off by the snows of winter, in the narrow cabin of the ship ice-bound in the Arctic seas, in the bare, dark rooms of the war-prison where the captive soldiers are trying to beguile the heavy time in company, tears steal down the rough cheeks when some one strikes up the familiar notes of “Home, Sweet Home.” ...

It borrows the comfort of hope.

It drops the threads of sorrow one by one, and catches the beams of light reflected from the future, and weaves them in among its harmonies, blending, brightening, softening the mystic web, until we are enclosed, we know not how, in a garment of consolation, and the cold, tired heart finds itself warmed, and rested, and filled with courage.

Most gracious ministry of music!

“Six Days in the Week,” by Henry van Dyke (Charles Scribner’s Sons).


Chinese and Americans Sang a Negro Spiritual

The distinguished Negro musician who was the guest of honor of The Hymn Society of America at its spring meeting, in 1944, was Dr. Harry T. Burleigh, who had then been associated for half a century with the music of St. George’s Church, New York City. This prominent man began by tracing his love of music to his mother, and also his blind grandfather, who taught him many, many of the old Negro melodies when a lad. Then, perseveringly, he won a scholarship at the National Conservatory of Music in New York.

After relating how much of his time had been devoted to the task of arranging and composing Negro spirituals he sat at the piano and thrilled his audience as he sang these beautiful songs: “Weeping Mary,” “Go Down in the Lonesome Valley to Meet Your Saviour There,” “I’m Seeking for a City, Hallelujah!” “Lord, I Want to be a Christian.”

Happily there was present that day the Rev. Timothy Tingfang Lew, professor at Yengching University, Chengtu, West China. He narrated how there was produced in China a common hymnal for the leading evangelical churches, and stated that “the present Chinese hymnbook, ‘Hymns of Universal Praise,’ was the result of effective team-work.” Included in this book was, he indicated, “Lord, I Want to Be a Christian,” and suggested that they all sing it with Dr. Burleigh. Everybody liked the idea.

Two Chinese missionaries were accompanying Dr. and Mrs. Lew; so these four sang it in the Chinese language, while the others sang in English. Thus their voices blended 89 in one of the beloved spirituals of the Negro race, while they were accompanied by a Negro on the piano.

“Lord, I want to be a Christian,

In-a my heart, in-a my heart

Lord, I want to be a Christian

In-a my heart.”

Writers of hymns, composers of tunes, church organists and choir leaders were in that company of men and women who joyfully sang the verses of that beloved spiritual, and their faces were radiant as they came to the words:

“Lord, I want to be like Jesus

In-a my heart, in-a my heart,

Lord, I want to be like Jesus

In-a my heart.”

The entire company felt and affirmed that the effect was most touching.

When the United States entered World War II five leaders of the Salvation Army, who knew what American youth liked to sing, and what is also profitable for them, made a small selection of hymns for the use of the armed forces in both their religious services and social gatherings. That thin little book wisely contained the appealing spiritual:

“Lord, I want to be a Christian.”

Thus it went around the world with our American lads. The people of Great Britain, the newspapers affirmed, became greatly attached to it, and particularly enjoyed hearing it sung by the colored soldiers.


Christmas Carols in Two Tongues

“It required an attentive ear to notice that the singing was in two languages at once,” said a reporter in The New York Times when he gave a vivid description of the Christmas service conducted in the First Chinese Church in New York City on the Sunday following Christmas Day, in 1946. Children took a very prominent part, especially in the rendering of Christmas music.

The building was decorated in the traditional fashion. Both the United States flag and that of the Chinese were displayed, and between them was a white banner with “red cut-out characters saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese.” Various Christmas exercises were rendered, and then a speaker emphasized the fact that Christmas belongs to everybody.

Together they sang, “The First Noel” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.”

Before the service closed the “two stars of the program, small brothers,” sang the lovely hymn attributed to Martin Luther:

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.”

“It was a big day for these Chinese children and their parents,” commented the reporter. For many visitors, also, it was a time of happiness. The joyful strains of Christmas music make human hearts glad wherever the story of the Christ Child is told.


“Everybody Knows ‘Holy Night’”

“Can we not sing something together?” This was the question asked in the days of the First World War at a gathering in the Young Women’s Christian Association in Boston.

“Why,” someone exclaimed, “how can we?” Then she added, “There is no language which all of us speak.”

The answer appeared to be discouragingly decisive until a French girl made a happy suggestion. “But tunes,” said she, “are the same, and there ought to be a tune which we all know, even if we have to sing different words.”

“Everybody knows ‘Holy Night,’” remarked a young woman of large musical ability, born in Russia. Her parentage was English and German, and she had cousins in each of the three nations. She sat down at the piano and began to play the song.

An American concert singer with a rare voice, invited in for the occasion, stood by her and led. Those who spoke English began to sing:

“Silent night, holy night,

All is calm, all is bright.”

One after another others joined, and soon, French, Swiss, German, Austrian, Belgian, Pole, Russian and Italian were all singing together the same message to the same music—but each in her own tongue.

“If we all start from Christ,” said Henry Churchill King, who once related this incident, “the nations can come into harmony, even though each sings in its own tongue.”


Unifying Influence of Song at Eastertide

The spirit of Easter has an exhilarating effect on all peoples in Christian lands. The following from the news columns of The New York Times on Easter Monday (April 26, 1943) indicates that representatives of various nationalities entered into the joy of the festive season. Among the many services described that day was the sunrise service at Central Park, as follows:

More than 6,000 persons gathered for the annual service on the Mall in Central Park at 7 A.M. A group of Waves and Spars and members of the Marine Corps Auxiliary served as ushers. The services were principally musical, with the singing of Easter hymns by various foreign-language groups, as well as hymns in English.

The services were opened with the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Miss Lucy Monroe, accompanied by the Maritime Band, and continued with the singing of hymns by choirs from foreign-language churches in the metropolitan area. Twelve Mohawk Indians in tribal regalia, the choir of the Cuyler Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, sang “Up From the Grave He Rose,” and a group of sixteen Chinese children sang the same hymn in their native tongue.

The choir of the Russian Evangelical Pentecostal Church sang the hymn, “He Arose From the Dead,” in Russian, and “He Lives” was sung by an Italian choir led by the Rev. D. Lisciandrello, pastor of Calvary Church, Brooklyn.

Other foreign language groups participating included the Syrian Protestant Church, Brooklyn; the Spanish Christian Church, and a Polish choir.

People of many lands, therefore, sang in their own tongue the glad story of the resurrection of Christ.



Soldier voices were heard singing in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral on July 4, 1941. Strangely, as though protected by Divine Providence, this historic building was still standing though surrounding London had been destructively bombed and was mostly in ruins. But on that memorable day there was unveiled a memorial tablet to Billy Fiske, the first American to give his life in World War II. Fliers from his own squadron and some other American volunteers were the singers. “Standing together in the candle-lit dusk,” said Alexander Woolcott, “this symbolic group of Anglo-American courage sang Billy Fiske to his rest with the words:

“‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.’”

A surprise awaited Mrs. F. D. Roosevelt on a September day, in 1943, according to a report of the Associated Press, when she walked into a room for youthful sufferers from infantile paralysis in the Melbourne Child’s Hospital. Mrs. Roosevelt was in Australia at that time visiting the American troops, but she was also interested in these youthful patients.

There she saw, as she entered, “Thirteen-year-old Briar Dean holding a harmonica in his one usable hand, and playing America’s national anthem.” When he halted 94 his music, Mrs. Roosevelt, attracted by the unusual scene, walked directly to the youngster and asked him to play for her. So he started over, and played through a verse, and the chorus.

“Four generals, one admiral, and numerous other gold-braided men, stood at attention,” according to the correspondent who narrated the memorable event for his American readers.

Surprise for American Soldiers

“It was the Fourth of July in this joint British and American Officers’ training camp,” said an Associated Press report from “an officers’ training camp” in North Africa on July 5, 1943. No announcement, however, was posted concerning a Fourth of July celebration. “The camp was to follow its regular routine. There would be a route march at five o’clock.”

The hour of five came and the men fell in on the parade ground, and started up the trail. It was observed that the American general was making the march, but no British officers were seen. “It’s our holiday, and they get the day off. Can you beat it?” Thus murmured the Americans.

“The trail led through a grove winding up and down the slopes of the mountain,” said the correspondent. “The sun was nearly down when they emerged into a clearing.

“Just ahead, in an open space among the trees, the British officers were lined up in two files. They were singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ An American flag waved above their heads.”

Such was the tersely vivid account of a dramatic moment in the lives of British and American soldiers in 95 North Africa during an important period in the history of World War II.

“America the Beautiful” Heard at Arlington

“The Unknown Soldier and his legions of sleeping comrades were honored anew in this national cemetery today—with fresh flowers and a solemn promise,” said an Associated Press report from the Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1943. “The Memorial Day crowd,” it added, “came from every direction through the oak-shaded walks of the cemetery, sobered by the sight of fresh graves among the sod-covered resting places of earlier veterans.”

Taps were sounded by a marine corps bugler, and all conversation ceased. President F. D. Roosevelt’s wreath was laid on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Representatives of veterans’ organizations and their auxiliaries, dressed in vivid uniforms, then deposited wreath after wreath at the base of the white monument.

The “solemn promise” mentioned was given by Lt.-Gen. Brehon B. Somervell who made this declaration: “To the nameless soldier here before us in this marble tomb and through him to all his comrades, wherever they may lie, we make this promise:

“With them we enter into an earnest covenant that we will carry on the fight, against whatever odds and however long it takes, until justice and decency and human liberty are re-established throughout the earth.”

“America the Beautiful” was distinctly heard as the people moved quietly into the classic marble amphitheater, as the carillon at Fort Myer, nearby, gave forth the music of the beloved patriotic song of Katharine Lee Bates—


“O beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved,

And mercy more than life!”

An American Home on Invasion Day

As a nation we had looked upon the war as a gigantic business proposition which we could manage with our own resources: production, government agencies, organization and training. Then came D-Day, and for the first time we drew upon our reserve.

The first hour in the morning runs strictly to schedule in our household since this is the only way to avoid confusion when the children are getting ready for school as Dad leaves for the office. As soon as I go downstairs, I turn the radio to the musical clock program in order to check our progress.

Each morning a recording blares out, “O, What a Beautiful Morning!” But on June 6 I heard an organ pealing forth “Finlandia”—“Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side.” And then I knew before seeing the paper on the front porch that the headline would be “Invasion!”

Each minute of this day was so filled with destiny that it seemed of little importance to note their individual passing: so, without the customary pause for announcing the time, the melody changed to “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Our boys were crossing the channel in the presence of that other Son who had suffered and died, that those he loved might live fully.

The muted organ almost whispered “Rock of Ages” as parents knelt at home under the sheltering arms of that other Father, whose heart had bled with each thrust of the spear. “Let me hide myself in Thee” was the message. Those parents do not care that it is a beautiful morning. It makes no difference that the hands on the clock say that it is seven-fifteen. “Simply to Thy cross I cling” was their solace.

And then the organ led in prayer, the prayer that filled the hearts of the sons approaching the beachheads, and the parents in their Gethsemane:


“O God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Be thou our guide while life shall last,

And our eternal home!”

For the first time voices joined the melody of the organ. Strong, confident, courageous voices ringing forth the affirmation, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” And then the triumphant, trumpet-like tones of the organ, sounding their notes of gratitude to the “God of our Fathers,” whose strong arm is “our ever sure defense ... from war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence.”

In that moment, I murmured a prayer of gratitude that my parents had taught me the words of these hymns so that my thoughts had been led by the organ melodies to my personal unlimited reserves, that represent the rightful heritage of a child of God.

For my two children June 6, 1944, will soon have become another date to learn from the pages of a history book. I cannot know when their H-Hour will come. But I do know their reserves will make them more than victorious because theirs is the greatest inheritance in the universe—the “Faith of our Fathers.”

Charlotte A. Young in “The Christian Advocate,” June 29, 1944. Used by permission.

“Our God is Marching On!”

“The most solemn day in American history,” was June 6, 1944, according to one editor. This was known as “D day,” and was the day of the invasion of the coast of Normandy by the Allied nations engaged in a mighty and deadly struggle with Germany.

This day was anticipated for many weeks. It was known that the United States and Great Britain would unite in striking the enemy at a season and a place when and where the blow would be considered to be most effective. Only a few statesmen and high-ranking military authorities, 98 however, knew in advance just when that day would come. One outstanding aim, of course, was to surprise the enemy. A mighty military machine had been built for the purpose; and, on the other hand, the enemy, in ignorance of the secret of time and place, had done its utmost to mass its forces and arrange its protective material where it was hoped that they would be most effective.

Churches and communities arranged to ring their church bells and give other signals as soon as the news of the invasion was received, so that the people might learn of the fateful hour and join in prayer. Churches also arranged to open their buildings, and ministers planned for gatherings for prayer. These features were generally observed. Then at ten o’clock at night, President F. D. Roosevelt, who the previous evening addressed the nation on the fall of Rome, led the nation in prayer. Probably never so many people in the United States listened to the President at the same time as on that occasion. “In this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer,” said he to those, who, all over the nation, were listening. Then he began:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.”

The prayer was inclusive, and men and women mostly listened to it as they sat in their own homes—homes from which their loved ones had gone forth to fight for freedom. Then came the closing words:

“Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.”

Millions of eyes were moistened by tears at that hushed 99 moment. The pause was brief. Then from the radio came voices reverently singing:

“Onward, Christian soldiers,

Marching as to war,

With the cross of Jesus

Going on before!”

Another selection was rendered, and then, most appropriately, came the song of the beloved Julia Ward Howe:

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,” concerning which said one newspaper columnist the next day, “more than any other song of any time this strikes deeply home at this hour.” How impressive was that refrain toward the close of this historic day:

“Glory, glory, Hallelujah! Glory, glory, Hallelujah!

Glory, glory, Hallelujah! His truth is marching on!”

The second verse was rendered as a solo:

“I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;

They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;

I have read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;

His truth is marching on.”

A male voice rendered one verse and a woman’s voice another. The chorus refrain was each time sung by the entire chorus. Also, they all united in the closing verse. How unforgettably impressive was this!

“In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,

With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,

While God is marching on.”


“The Star-Spangled Banner” at War’s End

“It’s going to be a long war, and it is going to be a tough war,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt, when he appeared before Congress on December 8, 1941, to ask for a declaration of war with Japan after that nation had attacked the United States. The President was speaking that day in a prophetic strain. He was right. The war was both “long” and “tough.” The wartime generation, of World War II, will long remember the anxiety and sacrifice of those days, as with grim determination our youth fought and our people labored unitedly to win a priceless victory. Not until September, 1945, did peace return to our land.

“The Stars and Stripes were raised over ancient Tokio today as General MacArthur formally established authority over Japan’s battered capital in the name of the United States,” were the words which appeared on the front page of some of our newspapers on September 8, 1945. This account of what happened was printed in The New York Times. It was written by Frank L. Kluckhorn: “Standing alone before Lt.-Gen. Robert Eichelberger, commander of the 8th army, which is garrisoning Tokio, MacArthur said: ‘Gen. Eichelberger, have our country’s flag unfurled, and in Tokio’s sun let it wave in its full glory as a symbol of hope for the oppressed and as a harbinger of victory for the right.’

“Eichelberger saluted, repeated the order, and the band played the national anthem. As the guard of honor and the others present saluted, the flag was raised on the pole where it can be seen from much of Tokio. The chaplain of the First Cavalry Division gave the benediction, and the ceremony was over.” But how thrilling and unforgettable 101 must it have been to have listened to the strains of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in that momentous hour!

A news item observed that the American flag unfurled on this occasion was the very flag that floated over the Capitol in Washington on December 7, 1941. This was the day when we were attacked by the Japanese.

Vauntingly the Japanese had declared, it was reported, that peace terms would be signed in the White House in Washington. Far different, however, was the reality. The terms of the “unconditional surrender” of Japan were made known, and the ceremonies relating to the signing of the same were observed on board the battleship Missouri in Tokio Bay. These were reported in the morning papers of September 3, 1945, though millions of citizens in the United States heard them over the radio the previous night. We were told that the “Missouri’s band outdid itself providing music, playing ‘Anchors Aweigh’ ... and ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever.’ A bugler sounded ‘Taps’ in memory of the gallant band of men and women who had gone into the great conflict with mighty forces with the hopeful feeling that

“... conquer we must when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust.’”

Thus the national anthem was played at the hour of the formal surrender of Japan on the Missouri and also when General MacArthur set up power in Tokio, “and the same historic flag was flown on both occasions.” The Star-Spangled Banner always has a special appeal when it is rendered in the presence of the Stars and Stripes. Our national anthem had gone with the nation from peace to war and from war to peace.


Kipling’s “Recessional”

“Perhaps the greatest single production of Rudyard Kipling’s pen,” remarked Nutter and Tillett concerning “The Recessional.” It is a hymn of majestic greatness, and one can easily imagine the deep impression it must have made when heard in Westminster Abbey on the day when the body of the brilliant author was placed in that historic shrine. The honor of being buried there, with the great of the nation, was well deserved.

“The Recessional” was published in the London Times, July 17, 1897; and it was written in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The very next year it appeared in a hymnal published by the American Baptist Publication Society. Since then it has appeared in many hymnals, and has frequently been sung on great patriotic occasions.

Fortunately the author has told us how the hymn came to be written. Said he: “That poem gave me more trouble than anything I ever wrote. I had promised the Times a poem on the Jubilee; and when it became due, I had written nothing that had satisfied me. The Times began to want that poem badly and sent letter after letter asking for it. I made many more attempts but no further progress. Finally the Times began sending telegrams. So I shut myself in a room with the determination to stay there until I had written a Jubilee poem. Sitting down with all my previous attempts before me, I searched through those dozens of sketches till at last I found one line I liked. That was ‘Lest We Forget.’ Round these words ‘the Recessional’ was written.”

A majestic strain pervades the hymn. Its deep solemnity 103 reminds one of some of the language of the Old Testament prophet. One thrills when he hears the lines:

“God of our fathers, known of old,

Lord of our far-flung battle line,

Beneath whose awful hand we hold

Dominion over palm and pine:

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget, lest we forget!

“The tumult and the shouting dies;

The captains and the kings depart;

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

A broken and a contrite heart:

Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget, lest we forget.”

It is interesting to read what Kipling’s cousin, Miss Florence Macdonald, wrote for The Methodist Recorder, London, following Kipling’s death. She said that she had a letter that Kipling wrote to her father after “The Recessional” was published. He there said:

“Yes, when one has three generations of Methody (Methodist) ministers behind one, the pulpit streak is bound to show. It’s very funny to hear folk wondering where I got it.” Then Miss Macdonald made this observation:

“It is not generally known, perhaps, that he (Kipling) was a grandson of the manse on both sides, his maternal grandfather being the Rev. George B. Macdonald, and his paternal grandfather being the Rev. Joseph Kipling, both Wesleyan ministers.”

This side-light on Kipling’s method of composition was also given by Miss Macdonald: “When composing verse he would set it to a tune, often a hymn tune, and I have 104 heard him walking up and down the room singing a verse over and over again to get the lilt and the swing of it.”

Kipling, by the way, was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1907. And when the author was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey, June 23, 1936, the choir sang his own “Recessional,” and through the venerable temple there rang the words:

“Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget, lest we forget!”



The note of praise was sounded at the very beginning of the 75th annual convention of the New York State Council of Religious Education, which was held in Utica, N. Y., October, 1930. The assembled delegates, whose interest centered in directing the religious life of the young people in the churches and communities of the state, lifted up their voices in singing what was once characterized by Dr. J. M. Buckley as the “most perfect hymn in thanksgiving in the English language:”

“For the beauty of the earth,

For the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth

Over and around us lies:

Lord of all, to Thee we raise

This our hymn of grateful praise.”

Each day in downtown Los Angeles, in the morning, at noonday, and again at night, a mighty choir of bells invites the hearts of merchants and bankers, tradesmen and newsboys, policemen and seamstresses to pause and reflect, to be still a moment in their hearts and receive the sacred benediction of the bells.

In the message of the bells there is joy and peace and love for all our fellow men, the love one sometimes forgets in the hurly-burly of a great city. Whenever I hear these bells I stop whatever I am doing, and my heart looks up to the great tower atop a lofty building and beyond to the vast blue sky.

My heart sings with the bells a prayer of gratitude for the gentle reminder that commerce is not all.

Cy Lance in “The Classmate.”


Two Statesmen Sang “America” in Washington’s Pew

The American nation was called to supplication for Divine guidance on the first day of 1942. The date was historic, for the nation was entering on a New Year with the dark shadows of war resting on the people. One of the events of that day was recorded on the front page of practically all our newspapers.

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, was at that time visiting the United States for the purpose of conferring with President F. D. Roosevelt. The latter took his guest with him to the quaint Episcopal Church at Alexandria, Va., of which George Washington was, in 1775, one of the founders. Together they occupied the white pew in which Washington used to worship.

Each of the two statesmen loved to sing, hence both of them united with the congregation when they sang:

“My country, ’tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty,

Of thee I sing.”

Perhaps each responsible statesman, burdened with anxiety, was thinking of his own country as he sang the prayerful words:

“Our fathers’ God, to Thee,

Author of liberty,

To Thee we sing;

Long may our land be bright

With freedom’s holy light;

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God, our King.”

Thus did two statesmen of the twentieth century render 107 thanksgiving to God and covet his leadership and guidance as they stood side by side and sang their faith in God and country.

Gunner Led the Song of Praise

“Circumstances called for patient waiting,” said one who had been interned in the Allied-Prisoners-of-War Camp “on the west coast of the island of Honshu.... Over the mountains and two hundred miles to the south the first atom bomb had been dropped during those momentous days of August, 1945.... Then suddenly everything was quiet. The wailing air-raid sirens, the heavy drone of giant bombers, the explosions, the flames, the panic and confusion ceased.”

“The ending of hostilities ... gave place to long silent and uneventful days, completely cut off from news of the outside world.” Thus ran the story of one who signed himself with the initials “R. E. W. H.” as he narrated some of his experiences in the Japanese prison camp during World War II. The prison community consisted of Australians, Americans, Dutch and British. Three and a half years of alien bondage had been endured by some of them.

One of the first concerted acts of these former prisoners, when they definitely realized their freedom, was to hold a service of thanksgiving. The account of this appeared in The British Weekly, September 9, 1946. They had “no padre or religious leadership, but the desire to give praise and thanks in a form of Divine service was spontaneous, and embraced all sects and racial creeds.”

The first hymn used was a most appropriate selection:


“Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,

To His feet thy tribute bring;

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,

Evermore His praises sing;

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Praise the Everlasting King!”

They did not get a good start. Perhaps they were overwhelmed by their emotions. Eventually they followed the lead “of a confident and enthusiastic little gunner”; and as the company gained control of itself “the hymn swelled to strength, sung by Catholic, Anglican, Nonconformist.”

The service was methodical, having been planned with care. It was held on the small parade ground in the center of the camp. The table was covered by a worn but well-washed strip of cloth. The crucifix was made by a carpenter among the prisoners; and the Japanese, by request, had supplied a small bowl of flowers. Benches were taken from the huts of the prisoners, and served as seats. The men had dressed for the occasion as best they could. The writer who related the incident had been asked to address them; and he found the assembled men most attentive. The peace that came from the hymns and prayers “was reflected in their eyes and attitude.” Those who shared in worship will never forget that day. How feelingly they must have sung that third verse!

“Father-like, He tends and spares us;

Well our feeble frame He knows:

In His hands He gently bears us,

Rescues us from all our foes;

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Widely yet His mercy flows.”


Minister Thrilled by Singing of Philadelphia Laymen

“John Reith was reared in a Scottish manse on a diet of porridge and prayer,” but because of his useful service to his native land he eventually became Sir John Reith. During the first World War he visited the United States as an inspector of war munitions, and in the interest of national service. He had rendered service as Captain John C. Reith, and had been wounded.

He was a notable figure as he moved through the streets of Philadelphia, being 76 inches tall. The minister who relates the following story often saw him as he walked down Chestnut Street, for his “great height and commanding figure attracted all eyes.” The Rev. John T. Reeve, then a pastor of a Presbyterian Church in the city, related the incident in 1941. Many prominent laymen of the Presbyterian Churches of Philadelphia and vicinity constituted the Social Union, and had a dinner once a month. Occasionally ministers were invited.

Captain Reith was invited to address the Social Union during his visit, and Dr. Reeve was a guest at that meeting. The speaker indicated how much he missed the Bibles from the pews in our American churches, and also made reference to the ministry of his father. “His talk moved the audience deeply, and this young soldier made such a spiritual impression on this company of several hundred business and professional men as had seldom been felt.”

When Captain Reith ceased speaking the whole body of men sprang to their feet. A prominent organist from one of the churches went to the piano, and started to play. His selection was:


“The heavens declare Thy glory, Lord,

In every star Thy wisdom shines;

But when our eyes behold Thy Word,

We read Thy Name in fairer lines.”

This hymn of Isaac Watts was sung to the tune of Uxbridge.

“Such singing I never heard before or since,” said Dr. Reeve, as he recalled the event several years later. Then he explained: “In not many cities could this have taken place. But in Philadelphia, where so many of these men had been brought up in Covenanter and United Presbyterian churches, they knew the great hymn. The thrills ran up and down my back, and many times since in giving out the hymn I have mentioned the incident, and shall always remember Captain J. C. Reith with honor.”

“We Love the Place”

“WE RETURN HOME!” was the announcement which appeared in some of the London papers in March, 1946. This was followed by the statement that on Saturday evening, March 9, at 6:30, there would be an act of “thanksgiving in song.” This was a call to the congregation of Central Hall, Westminster, London, who had been dispossessed of the use of their building for the use of the United Nations’ Conference.

The spacious Hall, the center of extensive social and evangelistic work, was the place considered to be most suitable for the gathering. Hence it was a strange sight to see statesmen from many lands assemble day after day in the place where the people were accustomed to hear the minister, the Rev. Dr. W. E. Sangster, proclaim the message of life everlasting to large congregations.


“We have been on a strange pilgrimage,” remarked Dr. Sangster, as he faced his re-united people in their own place of worship. During the previous four months they had conducted their Sunday services in two different theatres, and also the Carlton Hotel, all of which had extended hospitality. Naturally, extensive preparations were made for the joyful occasion. The great Wiseman Choir, composed of singers from many religious centers in London, and organized in memory of the beloved musician and preacher, Dr. F. Luke Wiseman, sang; and Dr. George F. Brockless was the leader of the singing company.

“The choir obviously enjoyed themselves,” said a reporter. Famous musicians participated; and outstanding musical selections were rendered, including the majestic “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Everybody wanted to sing on this happy occasion. The hymns needed to be selected with particular care. Beautifully appropriate, therefore, was the first hymn of the program:

“We love the place, O God,

Wherein Thine honor dwells;

The joy of Thine abode

All earthly joy excels.

“It is the house of prayer,

Wherein Thy servants meet;

And Thou, O Lord, art there,

Thy chosen flock to greet.”

This hymn, which appeared in “Hymns Ancient and Modern,” 1861, has found wide acceptance. It is found in The Church Hymnary (Scotland); The Hymnary of the United Church of Canada; and likewise The Hymnal 112 (1940) of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States.

The author was the Rev. William Bullock, D.D. (1798-1874), who was of English birth. Thirty-two years he served as a minister for the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel. Dr. James Moffatt tells us that this hymn, based on Psalm 26:8, “was composed in 1827 for the dedication of a church in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, where he was rector.” He also adds that “seventy years later, when a new building on the same site was dedicated, this hymn was once more sung.”

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise,” said the Psalmist. It was in this spirit that the congregation of the Central Hall, Westminster, “spent a memorable evening of thanksgiving.” The hearts of the people overflowed with joy as they ecstatically sang:

“We love the place, O God.”

Prayerful were the lines which closed that hymn:

“Lord Jesus, give us grace

On earth to love Thee more,

In heaven to see Thy face,

And with Thy saints adore.”

Memorable Rendering of the Doxology

“I believe the men will wish to sing and pray,” said the Rev. Dr. Oscar R. Maurer of New Haven, Conn., when he secured consent from the military authorities to have the doors of the cathedral of Verdun opened when the firing should cease at the end of World War I. The dramatic story of the event was written for Association Men by one who had been at work in France with the 113 Red Triangle. The scene was thus vividly described:

“Ten minutes of eleven, and still the guns roared on, unmindful of the fact that peace was imminent. Five minutes of eleven, and even the general and his aides were showing signs of nervousness....

“Then, as suddenly as though God Himself had dropped a wet blanket over the crackling flames of hell and at one blow had extinguished them all, the firing and the rumbling ceased. There was an instant’s pause in which it seemed as though the world had come to an end. Then from the forty bells high in the still untouched towers of that old cathedral at Verdun, which had witnessed the most heroic sacrifice of life and love save that on Calvary alone, pealed forth as did the voices over the Bethlehem hills, those silver tones that once again were saying, ‘Peace on earth.’”

The men began to leap wildly and joyously. They shouted, sang and kissed one another. The cathedral doors opened slowly, and about six hundred soldiers from the armies of the Allies entered with a rush. Dr. Maurer walked quietly to the altar rail, and there knelt in prayer. Officers and privates alike reached for the swinging ropes, and gave the bells another pull. The possibility that the opportunity for a religious service was lost oppressed the heart of Dr. Maurer with fear. The assembling company, however, soon observed the lonely figure kneeling at the altar, and they began to move forward. He rose, and all was quiet. “Boys,” said he, “I believe we all want to sing, and that we ought to sing the doxology.” An English soldier, with a splendid tenor voice, started the familiar line:

“Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.”


Instantly all who knew the words joined in the glorious doxology. Then the Americans, the English and the French sang their respective national anthems before they reverently left the building.

General Valentine, who had given consent for the service to be held in the cathedral, went forward, took Dr. Maurer’s hands in his own, and said, “I want to thank you for leading these men on this occasion to offer praise to God....”



“Christina Rossetti strikes her highest notes in her Christmas songs. One is her delightful rhapsody:

“‘Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, Love Divine;

Love was born at Christmas,

Star and angels gave the sign.’

“The other is one written for her god-children:

“‘The shepherds had an angel,

The wise men had a star,

But what have I, a little child,

To guide me home from far?—’

delicate, humble, wondering, trustful.”

“I would like also to call attention to the new note contributed in Mr. Laurence Housman’s hymn:

“‘The Maker of the sun and moon,

The Maker of our earth,

Lo! late in time, a fairer boon,

Himself is brought to birth.’

. . . . .

“‘O Perfect Love, outpassing sight,

O Light beyond our ken,

Come down through all the world to-night,

And heal the hearts of men.’”

Dr. F. Luke Wiseman in an address on “Christmas Hymns.”


Christmas Carols on Deck of Battleship

The battleship Missouri will always hold a unique place in the history of the United States, for on her, at the close of World War II, the Japanese made their formal surrender. But about four months later (December 21, 1945) a very different scene was witnessed on her deck. That night more than one hundred members of the Choral Group of the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn sang Christmas carols in sub-freezing weather. Naturally the listening members of the appreciative crew recalled the experiences of the previous Christmas, when they were engaged in fighting World War II.

Beneath a string of 500-watt bulbs the chorus sang into a microphone. Perhaps it was natural that they should begin with the familiar and beloved carol written by Bishop Phillip Brooks:

“O little town of Bethlehem,

How still we see thee lie!”

Possibly some who listened made the words their heart prayer as the singers rendered the words:

“O holy Child of Bethlehem!

Descend to us, we pray;

Cast out our sin, and enter in,

Be born in us today!”

Other carols were rendered, and then the singers concluded with:

“Silent night, holy night.”


The songs of the glorious holiday season in a year that began in war and ended in peace reminded the men of home and family. One of the sailors remarked quietly to another: “I shall be home this Christmas for the first time in four years.”

Christmastide Song of Blind Singers

At the Christmas season before the second World War a sale and entertainment were held in London under the auspices of the Greater London Fund for the Blind. Among the attractive features of the program during the afternoon and the evening was the rendering of Christmas carols by a company of blind singers. A London periodical, commenting on this part of the program, said that it was “especially impressive” when the chorus rendered the peculiarly appropriate hymn of Bishop Reginald Heber:

“Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,

Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid;

Star of the East, the horizon adorning,

Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.”

Blind though they were, the singers were conscious of the fact that Christ was the “Light of the world.”

This hymn was first published in 1811. Several other very popular hymns were written by the same author. Following his training at Oxford University, he became rector at Hodnet, and, later, Missionary Bishop of Calcutta, where this “man of learning and piety” lived only three years.

During this short period, however, he had the great satisfaction of hearing this and another of his hymns (“The Son of God Goes Forth to War”) sung better than he “had ever heard them sung in a church before.” 118 This was on the occasion of the dedication of a church at Meerut, India, where in a remote situation, in sight of the Himalaya Mountains, he found an excellent organ in what he described as “one of the earliest, the largest and handsomest churches in India.”

The blind singers of London chose well when they decided to sing the hymn of this consecrated man.

Not Too Late to Hear the Christmas Music

Newspapers all over the United States on Christmas Day, 1945, carried pictures of returning troops from the scenes of war, as they arrived in the harbor of Los Angeles. The men were shown crowding the rails of the boats, and on their faces there was a wistful look. Happiness and disappointment were both registered. While they were privileged to see their native land on another Christmas Day, after their long and hard experiences in conflict, yet they were too late to join the Christmas circles in their homes.

A group of singers, however, made the rounds of the various ships on a greeter boat, and welcomed the warrior lads by the singing of Christmas carols. Sweet was it to the men to hear the singers render the old carol:

“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!

Come and behold Him, born the King of angels!”

When the chorus was reached many of the men on shipboard also sang or hummed the lines:

“O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him

O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.”


The origin of this great Christian hymn is obscure. This observation is made by Dr. Charles A. Boyd: “Here is another of the much loved hymns of the church which we owe to the old Latin hymn-writers. They wrote not for money or fame, but for the love of the writing, and for the praise of Christ.” A somewhat extended discussion of both hymn and tune is found in the work of Dr. James Moffatt, and at the close he says: “The conclusion seems to be that the hymn and tune came into use together, in the services of the Roman Church, during the first part of the eighteenth century; that they were in circulation in manuscript for some time before they appeared in print, but that nothing definite can as yet be stated as to the author of either words or music.”

When a young high school student, whom I knew, attended the illumination of a community Christmas tree she heard a chorus of Welsh voices, at midnight on Christmas Eve, sing this carol. Several times before, very naturally, she had heard it in church and school. But this night she returned home full of enthusiasm, and said to her parents, “I never before heard anything so beautiful!” Perhaps the returning troops had just this feeling when they listened to this and other carols rendered in the Christmas season of 1945, as they were welcomed back with joyful song to the land for which they had victoriously fought.

Carol the Children Wanted

Two little girls jumped from their bed to listen to the choir of an English church as they were making their rounds at Christmastide singing carols, according to a local custom. They were, of course, singing the old favorites, as they had been doing for a few successive evenings, 120 and they were tired. But this was their last call for the year.

The first selection was rendered when, according to the one who narrated the incident in an English periodical (Mrs. Lyndon Hill), a bedroom window was lifted, and two little girls leaned out and asked them to sing the carol they most loved, “Away in a Manger.” Soon the Christmas callers were singing:

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.”

“In all our singing it had never occurred to us to sing this seemingly childish carol,” said the one who related the story; “but we did sing it, and the beauty and simplicity of the words and tune struck me as never before, as the two little voices joined with us. They seemed to be the expression of all the wonder of God’s gift of the Christ child in the humility of His manger bed, and our singing took on new life as we caught a vision of the utter simplicity of the Christmas message.... And I never fail to receive inspiration from the mental picture of two little sleepy girls at a bedroom window singing ‘Away in a Manger.’”

And what an especially appropriate prayer it must have been for the little girls when they closed the song with the words:

“Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay,

Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.

Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,

And fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.”



A large group of Christian men gathered in Chicago early in 1938 for a convention. Said one who was present: “The mood and point of view were indicated by the opening hymn:

“‘Ask ye what great thing I know

That delights and stirs me so?

What the high regard I win?

Whose the name I glory in?

Jesus Christ, the crucified.’”

The great and inspiring gathering closed with the same hymn, and thus before they separated these same men sang:

“This is that great thing I know;

This delights and stirs me so:

Faith in Him who died to save,

Him who triumphed o’er the grave,

Jesus Christ the crucified.”

“But His lone cross and crown of thorns

Endure when crowns and empires fall.

The might of His undying love

In dying conquered all.”

John Oxenham.


Building Gone, but Hymn Remains

“Above the hills of time the cross is gleaming,

Fair as the sun when night has turned to day;

And from it love’s pure light is richly streaming,

To cleanse the heart and banish sin away.”

“The church where that hymn was first sung is utterly destroyed, but the hymn remains. In this thought I take comfort.” Thus wrote the Rev. Thomas Tiplady, superintendent of the Lambeth Mission, London, to The Hymn Society of America a few weeks after the end of World War II. He explained thus: “Had not the Church of England friends granted the use of a tiny chapel and a wooden hut the congregation would have been entirely homeless, for the wrecking of the entire buildings of the Mission was completed by a rocket bomb.” The building was historic, and dated back to the ministry of the notable commentator, Dr. Adam Clark.

The author has written a fairly large collection of hymns, and they are rapidly finding places in new hymnals. But “Above the Hills of Time” continues to be the favorite. Congregations sing with enthusiasm:

“To this dear cross the eyes of men are turning

Today as in the ages lost to sight;

And so for Thee, O Christ, men’s hearts are yearning

As shipwrecked seamen yearn for morning light.”

Visits to the United States have been made by the author; and the writer was privileged to hear him speak at Columbus, Ohio, to an immense audience. Hearers were profoundly moved as this chaplain in World War I told the story which is found in his book, “The Cross at the Front.”


This beautiful tribute appeared in a review of one of his little collections of hymns, where an English periodical made this comment: “Hymns are rarely poetry, say the critics, but there is poetry of a high order here ... and frequent evidence that the poet has been inspired not by the muse alone, but also by the Holy Spirit.” No one doubts this when he hears a great congregation sing:

“Like echoes to sweet temple bells replying,

Our hearts, O Lord, make answer to Thy love.”

An Army with Banners

A monster rally of the Salvation Army for the raising of needed funds was held in New York City in March, 1938, when something dramatic occurred which brought the vast audience to its feet. Among the speakers were many noted people, including Walter Lippmann, the renowned philosopher, and General Hugh S. Johnson, experienced soldier and distinguished writer.

The speakers had been talking about the need of peace. Then, at one point, the Salvation Army officer in charge, asked: “Is there no solution for the world’s woes but bayonets in the hands of soldiers?” He paused. Quickly the answer came as the band began to play:

“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.


’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.”

Emphasis was given to the song when a group of “eager and exalted” young soldiers of the Salvation Army marched into the building carrying their own colors and the national emblem. These youthful soldiers, enlisted in the cause of Christ, were militantly engaged in service for the Prince of Peace. And the parade of the singing soldiers “touched everybody deeply.”

Church Cross Inspired Grocer’s Song

A church which he served in his early ministry is thus described by Dr. William L. Stidger, professor in Boston University: “There was a little church on the top of a hill in the sand dunes of the Sunset District of San Francisco, California. On the top of that beautiful little church, covered with ivy vines, a white revolving cross flashed its light through the night across the dunes.” I visited that church when I attended the great Exposition in the city mentioned, and heard Dr. Stidger preach. In fact, I received great kindness at his hands during the few days I was in the city. Through him I was privileged to attend a meeting at which Edwin Markham spoke.

In one of his articles Professor Stidger related this story: “At the foot of that little hill there was a grocery store. The light of that revolving cross, when it turned west, flashed through the front windows of that grocery 125 store. The proprietor of the store, Robert Mobbs, as he waited on his customers at evening time, could look up and see the flash of that white cross and it always gave him a comfortable feeling. He liked that cross, he liked to have it flash its message into his store when the twilight fell across the sand dunes looking toward the Golden Gate.

“Robert Mobbs, tall, angular, had been born in Prince Edward Island, and he had grown up in a church-going family. His mother had taught him to memorize the great hymns of the church and he loved them. As he worked in the grocery store he liked to hum the hymns of the church over to himself as he waited on his customers. The hymn he loved best of all was ‘In the Cross of Christ I Glory.’ He would hum that hymn to himself as the evening shadows gathered and the light of Calvary’s Cross flashed in through the wide windows. One of his customers, hearing him, said, ‘I go out with little songs singing in my heart. I like it.’” He had heard the grocer sing:

“In the cross of Christ I glory,

Towering o’er the wrecks of time;

All the light of sacred story

Gather round its head sublime.”

Visiting Singer Familiar with the Hymn

Nelson Eddy, famed for his singing voice, was far from his American home when he gave a concert to the United States Army on a Saturday evening at Aden. But an interesting sidelight of this visit to the troops was given in The British Weekly in February, 1944, and also referred to the next morning, when he sang in the little Scots Kirk.


The explanation was made to the soloist to the effect that the place of worship was only a small building. But, accepting the invitation, he said that the size of the church made no difference, as it was his personal wish to sing the Lord’s Prayer in the Scottish Church. He, therefore, slipped quietly into the building just as the congregation had begun to sing the hymn, “Crown Him With Many Crowns.” “Not only did he join in,” said the one who reported the incident, “but he practically led the singing, and without a hymn book.”

After the scripture lesson, Mr. Eddy rendered his solo, a musical setting of the Lord’s Prayer, “And it was magnificently sung as if it were a prayer.” The soloist remained while another hymn was sung, and then he quietly left the sanctuary, as he had to leave Aden immediately.

It was interesting to learn that the visiting singer was so familiar with the hymn, “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” and that he sang it so heartily. It is one of stirring hymns of the Christian Church, and with the tune to which it is set, “Diademata,” it makes a jubilant song of praise. Hymn and tune form “a perfect union.” Said Covert and Laufer: “The tune fully conveys the triumphant and ecstatic joy of the text, and yet its great dignity and solidity are preserved. It is a tune which organists like to play and which choirs and congregations enjoy singing.” Even in wartime, doubtless, all enjoyed singing:

“Crown Him the Lord of peace,

Whose power a scepter sways

From pole to pole, that wars may cease,

And all be prayer and praise.”



A portion of Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, is indicated as being the favorite resting-place of Dr. Isaac Watts. A writer paid an early morning visit to this location on a beautiful summer day. Fastened to a tree there was found a piece of paper on which there was written the following verse:

“There is a land of pure delight

Where saints immortal dwell,

Infinite day excludes the night,

And pleasures banish pain.”

Underneath were the words:

“Dr. Watts now enjoys what he then wrote.”

The British Weekly.

A touching incident in connection with the death of Woodrow Wilson concerns the manner in which the news of his passing came to his friend and admirer Roland Hayes, the great American Negro singer, at the time he was giving a series of concerts in Boston. In the midst of his program Hayes raised his hand for silence and said, “I have just learned of the passing of a great soul and I’m going to sing something for a memorial to him.” And then he sang “I Am Goin’ Home” with a theme from the “New World Symphony,” in an arrangement by William A. Fisher:

“Goin’ home, goin’ home, I’m jes’ goin’ home;

It’s not far, jes’ close by, through an open door.

Work all done, care laid by,

Gwine to fear no more.”

Home Quarterly.


Easter Song of a Centenarian

Living in two centuries and in two countries, the Rev. Timothy Edwards enjoyed some unusual experiences. He loved both to preach and to sing. Born in England, he reached the United States before 1870, and was assigned to a circuit in Michigan, as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. But because of throat trouble, he was compelled to leave his ministerial work in 1876.

He then became editor of a small paper, and likewise a student of law. Later he was admitted to the bar. After a few years, however, he was able to re-enter the ministry, and served churches in northern Michigan until, in 1895, he was superannuated.

When he observed his ninetieth birthday, he preached in the Methodist Church at Washington, Michigan, and said: “I will not speak in this church again until I am one hundred years old”—and he did not. But on April 1, 1934, celebrating his 100th birthday he once more preached in the same church.

Midway in the sermon his congregation was delighted when the aged Christian, one of God’s singing saints, voiced his experience in sacred song. It was one he long had loved:

“My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine,

For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;

My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou,

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

It was Easter Sunday, and the centenarian could look forward to an ageless life beyond the present. Hence he could sing:


“In mansions of glory and endless delight,

I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;

I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

The veteran preacher made that Easter Sunday memorable to his congregation, and led them to see how happy a Christian can be when he reaches the age of one hundred.

Easter in New Guinea

Sunrise in New Guinea in 1943 made Easter morning memorable for Lt. John McDaniel Slocum, whose home was in Oswego, Oregon. Earlier he had dropped out of the freshman class at Oregon State College to enlist in the service of his country. By Easter, 1943, he was a second lieutenant in the infantry, and was in charge of a reconnaissance party of twelve men in New Guinea. These men had been away from their base for many weeks, and were living on powdered milk and canned stew. The letter which he wrote to his mother at Eastertide was a significant one. Said he:

“All my men and myself were having a big gabfest last night, and the fact that Easter was today was mentioned. Not too much was said and the subject was dropped.... But for some reason I woke up at 5:30 and I just had an impulse to go out to our hill which overlooks the ocean, and hold myself a little sunrise service.... Every man in camp was there!... We sang several hymns. Some natives (Christians) joined us, and we sang some more.

“As the sky turned pink we all were quiet. As the sun came up someone started to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ and as the sun rose over the mighty blue Pacific our 130 voices, with a background of natives humming, reached out across that sea to tell all of you at home that all was well....

“Then one of the boys took out a Bible and asked me to read something from it.... As I glanced at the opened page there was the Lord’s Prayer. I read it through very quietly once, and then we all said it in unison.

“Then, with a glance at the rising sun, we all returned to camp.”

What an unforgettable Easter for those young Americans! Fighting for their native land on far-distant shores, yet “at the dawn’s early light” on Easter morning they could sing their song of patriotic hope:

“And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Eastertide Hymn at an Easter Funeral

They sang, they all sang, at the funeral of Mrs. Grace Beaven in Rochester, N. Y., on Easter Monday, in 1938. She would have liked that, for she was a lover of music. In her girlhood days she journeyed from her far-away home in Tacoma, Washington, to New York City that she might pursue a course in music. Completing her course, she returned to her home community, and became choir director in the First Baptist Church. Soon she became the bride of a young Baptist minister, served with him in the pastorate, and then shared his responsible life when he, the Rev. Dr. Albert W. Beaven, became the president of the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School.

“She lived radiantly and gallantly to the end,” testified her husband, who confessed that he had asked for himself the privilege of conducting her funeral service. Clear and 131 strong was his voice as, entering the Lake Avenue Baptist, Rochester, he read the great words of affirmation from the Scripture, “I am the resurrection and the life.” The standing congregation then sang the triumphant Easter song of Charles Wesley:

“Christ the Lord is risen today,


The bereaved family sang with the congregation. The song on the lips came from their hearts, whatever tears may have been in their eyes. A thousand voices united with theirs in singing:

“Soar we now where Christ has led,


Following our exalted Head,


Made like Him, like Him we rise,


Ours the cross, the grave, the skies,


“This hymn by Charles Wesley ... has long been accepted as the best English Easter Hymn” was the positive statement made by W. T. Stead. Unquestionably it is also sung more frequently than any other selection in our American churches on Easter Sunday. The author once went through the published Easter Sunday morning programs of twenty-nine churches of various denominations of a city near his home at that time. This hymn appeared in all but three of the programs, and mostly it was the opening selection. Poetic language asks the question:

“Where’s thy victory, boasting grave?”


Then it gives the assuring reply:

“Love’s redeeming work is done


Fought the fight, the battle won,


Friday, July 23, 1742, John Wesley was with his beloved mother. “Her look was calm and serene,” said he, “and her eyes fixed upward, while we commended her soul to God. Soon the soul was set at liberty. There was no struggle. Those present then stood round the bed, and fulfilled her last request, uttered a little while before she lost her speech, ‘Children, as soon as I am released, sing a psalm of praise to God.’”

The passion-tide and an Easter message is summed up in the undying words of one of the singing sons of that honored mother which the family and friends of Grace Beaven sang on that Easter Monday soon after, being released from suffering, she joined the great multitude of the singing company in the celestial city.

What other hymn has such a triumphant climax?

“Made like Him, like Him we rise,


Ours the cross, the grave, the skies,


Mother’s Hymn at Eventide

A little girl would clutch her mother’s hand and the two would go through the tall grass of an English meadow to a stile. There they both loved to stand to watch the sunset. Just when the last crimson streak was dying in the west, the mother would sing, in her rich Welsh voice:


“Forever with the Lord!

Amen, so let it be;

Life from the dead is in that word,

’Tis immortality.”

The manner in which the woman greeted the passing of the day left a memory with the young daughter which the latter carried with her through the years, and brought with her when she came to America. “Sing, kitten,” the mother would sometimes exclaim. Then, with faces still set westward, the daughter would chirp with her little voice, and the two would sing:

“Here in the body pent,

Absent from Him I roam,

Yet nightly pitch my moving tent

A day’s march nearer home.”

The girl was still young when her mother reached

“The bright inheritance of saints,

Jerusalem above;”

but she carried with her the memory of being led into a room where she saw her father kneeling by the bed, with his face hidden in his hands. The clergyman was there administering Holy Communion; also present was the family physician. An older sister was sobbing.

Rushing to the bedside, the child gazed at the bright, beloved face of her mother. She was smiling. Her lips began to move. Beatrice Plumb, who once told this story about her mother and herself, said that even before she put her ear close to her mother, she knew that the latter was singing their eventide hymn.

Opening her eyes, the mother faintly whispered, “Sing, 134 Kitten!” Once more, the last time together, mother and little daughter were singing their old sunset song:

“Forever with the Lord!

Amen so let it be;

Life from the dead is in that word,

’Tis immortality.”

Carved on the mother’s tombstone, and cherished in the daughter’s memory, were the words:

“Forever with the Lord!”



While the writer consulted many books, the following list includes those to which reference was most frequently made. The name of the author appears in the text, and the quotations may mostly be found by referring to the author’s discussion of that particular hymn.

An extensive bibliography of the subject may be found in the work of McCutchan.

Boyd, Charles Arthur, Stories of Hymns for Creative Living, The Judson Press.

Covert, William Chalmers, and Laufer, Calvin Weiss, Handbook to the Hymnal, Presbyterian Board of Christian Education.

Gillman, Frederick John, The Evolution of the English Hymn, George Allen & Unwin, Ltd.

Lorenz, Edmund S., Practical Hymn Studies, Fleming H. Revell.

McCutchan, Robert Guy, Our Hymnody, The Methodist Book Concern.

Moffatt, James, Handbook to the Church Hymnary, Oxford University Press.

Nutter, Charles S., Hymn Studies, Phillips & Hunt.

Nutter, Charles S., and Tillett, Wilbur F., The Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church, The Methodist Book Concern.

Pratt, John Barnes, Present Day Hymns and Why They Were Written, A. S. Barnes and Company.

Robinson, Charles Seymour, Annotations Upon Popular Hymns, Hunt and Eaton.

Sankey, Ira D., My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns, Harper & Brothers.

Sheppard, W. J. L., Great Hymns and Their Stories, The Religious Tract Society, London.

Smith, H. Augustine, Lyric Religion, The Century Co.

Stead, W. T., Hymns That Have Helped, Doubleday and McClure Co.


Stevenson, G. J., The Methodist Hymn Book Illustrated, S. W. Partridge & Co., London.

Telford, John, The New Methodist Hymn Book Illustrated, Epworth Press, London.

Washburn, Charles C., Hymn Interpretations, Cokesbury Press.

Wiseman, F. Luke, Charles Wesley, The Abingdon Press.




Abide with me: fast falls the eventide 53, 60, 77
Above the hills of time the cross is gleaming 122
A charge to keep I have 80
All hail the power of Jesus’ name 32
At even, ere the sun was set 35
A mighty fortress is our God 44, 97
“Are ye able,” said the Master 75
Art thou weary, art thou laden 37
Ask ye what great thing I know 121
Awake, awake to love and work 26
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed 90, 120
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side 62
Blessed Master, I have promised 83
Brightest and Best of the sons of the morning 117
Christ is made the sure foundation 36
Christ the Lord is risen today 131
Christ, whose glory fills the skies 30
Come! Peace of God, and dwell again on earth 15
Come, let us anew our journey pursue 20
Come, let us join our friends above 66
Come Thou Fount of every blessing 40
Crown Him with many crowns 126
Day is dying in the west 33
Eternal Father, strong to save 53
Faith of our fathers! living still 54, 62
For ever with the Lord 133
For the beauty of the earth 105
God of our fathers, known of old 102
God is working His purpose out 56
God moves in a mysterious way 73
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah 49
Hark, hark, my soul! angelic songs are swelling 34
He shall give His angels charge 48
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty 29, 33, 37
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord 55, 63
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds 47
I come to the garden alone 54
I love Thy kingdom, Lord 68
I need Thee every hour 43
In the cross of Christ I glory 125
Jerusalem the golden 39
Jesus bids us shine 85
Jesus, Lover of my soul 57, 58, 80
Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me 81
Lord, I want to be a Christian 88
Love came down at Christmas 115
Low in the grave He lay 92
Mid all the traffic of the ways 64
Mine eyes have seen 93, 99
My country, ’tis of thee 57, 106
My God, I am Thine 73
My Jesus, I love Thee 128
Nearer, my God, to Thee 38, 53, 56
New every morning is the love 28
Now the day is over 32, 85
Now the laborer’s task is o’er 54
O beautiful for spacious skies 57, 95
O come, all ye faithful 118
O God, our help in ages past 56, 97
O Jesus, I have promised 39
O little town of Bethlehem 116
O Master, let me walk with Thee 55
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross 53
Onward, Christian soldiers 18, 53, 99
O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light 14, 56, 92, 93, 101, 129
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow 113
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven 59, 108
Rise up, O men of God 20
Rock of Ages, cleft for me 44, 96
Silent night, holy night 91, 116
Tell me the old, old story 41
The day is slowly wending 16
The Church’s one foundation 39, 123
The heavens declare Thy glory, Lord 110
The Maker of the sun and moon 115
The shepherds had an angel 115
The Son of God goes forth to war 37, 69
The strife is o’er 69
There is a land of pure delight 127
There is no sorrow, Lord, too light 50
There’s a Friend for little children 39
There were ninety and nine that safely lay 45
’Tis the promise of God, full salvation to give 72
We love the place, O God 111
What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought 71
When I survey the wondrous cross 46
With all my heart, I’ll do my part 59

Transcriber’s Notes