The Young Person's Guide to the Hymnbook
Hymn Writers Among Churches of Christ
by Wayne S. Walker
As Dad and the boys were walking from the church building to their house next door following the morning worship service the following Sunday, Seth asked a question. "Dad, I noticed that the person who wrote that one song which we sang in worship had a strange name. Tillit S. Teddlie. Who was he?"
"Teddlie was probably one of the best-known and most prolific of the hymnwriters among churches of Christ during the twentieth century," replied Dad.
Andrew wondered, "Have there been many members of the church of Christ who have written hymns?"
As they were entering the house, Mom went into the kitchen to get dinner ready and the other three went into the family room where Dad picked up a hymnbook and began to explain. "Yes, many of the songs that we sing were written by men and women associated with churches of Christ."
"Anyone who has studied and is familiar with the history of the call for religious reformation and restoration in the early 1800s of this nation that resulted in attempts to form congregations after the New Testament pattern known as churches of Christ will certainly recognize two names. Barton Warren Stone was born on Dec. 24, 1772, near Port Tobacco in Charles County, MD. He was converted by the preaching of James McGready, received a license from the Presbyterians to preach in 1796, moved to Kentucky, married in 1801, participated in the great Cane Ridge revival, and then withdrew from the Presbyterians in 1804 with the others who signed the well-known Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. After that, his life was dedicated to preaching only a return to the apostolic order of things as revealed in the scriptures until his death in Hannibal, MO, on Nov. 9, 1844.
"Alexander Campbell was born, most likely on Sept. 12, 1788, near Ballymena in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland. His Presbyterian minister father, Thomas, emigrated to the United States in 1807, making his home near Washington, PA, and Alexander and the rest of the family followed a couple of years later, eventually settling in Virginia near what is now Bethany, WV, where he died on Mar. 4, 1866. Both he and his father also withdrew from the Presbyterian and began preaching only non-denominational, New Testament Christianity. These facts are well-known. However, what is likely not as well-known is that both Stone and Campbell were very interested in the singing of the church, edited songbooks for use in local congregations, and even wrote hymns themselves.
"In May of 1828, Campbell brought out his Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs adapted to the Christian Religion, containing 125 hymns. A second edition appeared in 1829 and a third in 1832. Meanwhile, Stone, assisted by Thomas Adams, had published The Christian Hymn-Book, Compiled and Published at the Request of the Miami Christian Conference in 1829, with 340 hymns. After Adams's death, he joined with John Telemachus Johnson for a new edition in 1832. However, in 1832, after Campbell and Stone had determined that they were both preaching the same thing, they achieved a union in their efforts, and in 1834 also combined their hymnbooks into Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, Original and Selected--Compiled by A. Campbell, W. Scott, B. W. Stone, and J. T. Johnson--Bethany, Va. 1834, having 240 hymns. All these books had no music but contained words only.
"At that time, almost all hymnbooks contained words only with no music. Within ten years, hymnbooks with music became more and more common, but Campbell vehemently opposed the use of music in hymnbooks, claiming that printed music was a distraction during the song service, and he never wavered from this opposition. Most hymn-poems were written in certain meters, and various tunes were composed to fit those meters. People usually memorized as many tunes as possible, and in a worship service, the song leader chose one that fits a particular hymn. It was not uncommon for a hymn to be sung to several different tunes. Campbell never allowed any of his hymns to be set to music, and there is no historical data to indicate what tunes were used with his hymns.
"In 1986, Max D. Wheeler was preparing some material for a series of lectures on church music in the early days of the 'restoration movement' and compiled a collection of hymns by some of the leaders, including Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. One evening he determined to come up with a musical arrangement one of Campbell's hymns, taken from the 1834 edition of Campbell's Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. The poem was written as a narrative, beginning with the proclamation of John the Baptist that Jesus is the Lamb of God, writing about the steps of salvation, and discussing the establishment of Christ's church which is described as the 'reign of God.'"
- Upon the banks of Jordan stood The great reformer John;
And pointed to the Lamb of God, the long-expected One.
- He bade all those who did repent Forthwith to be immersed,
Assuring them that God had sent the message he rehearsed.
- But now the reign of God has come, The reign of grace below,
And Jesus reigns upon God's throne Remission to bestow.
- He bids all nations look to Him, As Prince of life and peace,
And offers pardon to all them Who now accept His grace."
"After trying first one thing and then another Wheeler finally just memorized the basic tune that sounded the best and added a chorus. About a month later, he was doing some recording with Ray Walker at a Dallas studio and scratched out a quick manuscript copy of the music, asking Ray to look it over. By the next night, Ray had recorded it. The producer, Bill Shockley, liked it so much that he decided to include it in one of his production tapes and market it. A few months later, Bill Humble asked to use the song as the theme music for a video that he was producing on the life of Alexander Campbell. It was first published in a new edition of V. E. Howard's Church Gospel Songs and Hymns and has since been in several hymnbooks used among churches of Christ and Christian Churches, including the 1992 Praise for the Lord, edited by John P. Wiegand.
"Also, Church Gospel Songs and Hymns includes a hymn by Barton W. Stone from The Christian Hymn Book of 1829."
- The Lord is the fountain of goodness and love, Through Eden once flowing in streams from above;
Refreshed every moment the first happy pair, 'Til sin stopped the torrent and brought in despair.
- O wretched condition, what anguish and pain! They thirst for the fountain but cannot obtain.
To sin's bitter waters they fly for relief; They drink, but the draught still increases their grief."
- Glad tidings, glad tidings, no more we complain; Our Jesus has opened this fountain again.
How mingled with mercy enriched with free grace, From Zion 'tis flowing on all the lost race.
- Too long have we dreaded to launch the great deep, And loved near the threshold of Zion to keep.
But Jesus now calls us; arise, let us go; O, glory transporting, 'tis heaven below."
"The musical setting was composed in 1986 by Max Wheeler's cousin, Tommy Wheeler, who also added a chorus.
"Not all of the work to return to the New Testament order of things was done in the United States. Several independent churches that were dedicated to the apostolic pattern were started in England, many as a result of the preaching of John Glas and his son-in-law Robert Sandeman, along with brothers James and Robert Haldane. The famous English scientist Michael Faraday and his family were members of such a congregation in Surrey, England. Some people from these congregations emigrated to the United States and united themselves with similar congregations here. In addition, Alexander Campbell made a preaching trip to the British Isles in 1847 and visited many of these congregations. One man who assisted him in going through customs when he arrived there for his tour through England, Scotland, and Ireland and became his friend also wrote a couple of hymns. Gilbert Young Tickle lived from 1819 to 1888 and was a resident of Liverpool, England. An associate of David King of Birmingham, one of the leaders among churches of Christ in England, he assisted in editing some of the editions of Hymns for Churches of Christ, which include over twenty of Tickle's compositions. Two that have passed into our books were hymns for use with the Lord's supper. One, 'Lord of Our Highest Love,' was set to a German chorale melody published by Johann B. Konig of Frankfurt."
- Lord of our highest love! Let now Thy peace be given;
Fix all our thoughts on things above, Our hearts on Thee in heaven.
- Then, dearest Lord, draw near Whilst we Thy table spread,
And crown the feast with heavenly cheer, Thyself the living bread.
- Then as the loaf we break, Thine own rich blessing give;
May all with loving hearts partake, And all new strength receive
- Dear Lord! what memories crowd Around the sacred cup!
The upper room! Gethsemane! Thy foes! Thy lifting up!
- O scenes of suffering love, Enough our souls to win--
Enough to melt our hearts and prove The antidote of sin.
Stanza 5 centers our attention on the suffering of Christ.
"The other, 'Another Week' published in 1868, was set to an old Psalm tune either composed or adapted by Louis Bourgeois for the 1551 Genevan Psalter and harmonized by Claude Goudimel for the 1565 Genevan Psalter.
"Coming back to the United States, a man named Love H. Jamieson, who lived from 1811 to 1892, wrote a couple of songs that we still sing. A native of Indiana, he was baptized in 1829 and began preaching that year. Perhaps his most popular hymn is often used to prepare our minds for the Lord's supper because it reminds us of the suffering of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane before His death."
- Night, with ebon pinion, Brooded o'er the vale;
All around was silent, Save the night-wind's wail,
When Christ, the Man of Sorrows, In tears and sweat as blood,
Prostrate in the garden, Raised His voice to God."
- Smitten for offenses Which were not His own,
He, for our transgressions, Had to weep alone;
No friend with words to comfort, Nor hand to help was there,
When the Meek and Lowly Humbly bowed in prayer.
- 'Abba, Father, Father, If indeed it may,
Let this cup of anguish Pass from Me, I pray;
Yet, if it must be suffered by Me, Thine only Son,
Abba, Father, Father, Let Thy will be done.
"The tune was composed by Joseph P. Powell, who was also associated with Christian Churches and Churches of Christ during the nineteenth century and helped to edit The Christian Hymnal, which was the final successor to the series of hymnbooks begun by Alexander Campbell. However, just about as well known among us is Jamieson's 'There Is A Habitation' with music by still another musician among Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, James H. Rosecrans.
"Isaac Newton Carman, who lived from around 1830 to 1911, studied with Alexander Campbell at Bethany College and for a time was a minister with Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, but it is believed that he left the church by the late 1850s. However, before he did, he left us a much-used hymn about our hope of heaven. It seems to have been first published around 1854."
- Here we are but straying pilgrims; Here our path is often dim.
But to cheer us on our journey, Still we sing this wayside hymn.
- Here our feet are often weary On the hills that throng our way;
Here the tempest darkly gathers, But our hearts within us say:
- Here our souls are often fearful Of the pilgrim's lurking foe;
But the Lord is our Defender, And He tells us we may know:
- Here, our shadowed homes are transient, And we meet the stranger's frown;
But we'll sing with joy while going E'en to death's dark billow down.
Chorus: "Yonder over the rolling river, Where the shining mansions rise,
Soon will be our home forever, And the smile of the blessed giver
Gladdens all our longing eyes.
"The tune was composed by William O. Perkins.
"One of the better-known hymn-writers among Christian Churches and Churches of Christ in the 1800s was Knowles Shaw, who lived from 1834 to 1877. A native of Ohio, he spent most of his adult life in Indiana and became known as 'the singing evangelist' because of his noted abilities both in preaching and leading songs, holding meetings all over the United States. Probably his most famous hymn, first published in 1874, is one which has often been used in church scenes for many western movies to give them a frontier flavor."
- Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eves,
Waiting for the harvest and the time of reaping--
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
- Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither loss nor winter's chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest and the labor ended--
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
- Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping's over He will bid us welcome--
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Chorus: Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
"Shaw provided his own tune for the words, but his music was adapted and rearranged in its present form by George A. Minor. Shaw also wrote both text and tune for the song 'I Am the Vine,' and composed tunes for Caroline S. Smith's 'Tarry With Me' and Anne Richter's 'We Saw Thee Not.' After leaving a successful meeting in Dallas, TX, for another effort in McKinney, TX, Shaw was tragically killed at the age of 44 in a train wreck just two miles short of his destination.
"While Shaw is remembered for several songs, Christopher Columbus Cline, who lived from 1848 to 1920, is remembered primarily for one song, although during his life he was a well-known gospel preacher, college professor, and hymnbook publisher. His little invitation hymn, dated 1882, has appeared in almost all hymnbooks that I remember or are currently in use among us."
- Why keep Jesus waiting, Waiting in the cold? He will bear you gently, Gently to His fold.
See Him, soul, and open, Open I implore.
- Why keep Jesus waiting, Waiting at the door? Oft He knocketh softly, Softly, o'er and o'er.
Hear Him, soul, and open, Open I implore.
- Why keep Jesus pleading, Pleading at the door? He would be your Savior, Ever, evermore.
Love Him, soul, and open, Open I implore.
- Why keep Jesus waiting, Knocking at the door? Soon He'll cease His pleading, Yes, for evermore.
Come, poor soul, obey Him; Open, I implore.
"Thomas Shelton, who lived from 1849 to 1929, was another minister with Christian Churches and Churches of Christ but, like Isaac N. Carman, is reported to have separated from the church around 1891. Prior to that, he had published a song around 1880 which is still frequently used today."
- One step at a time, dear Savior, I cannot take any more;
The flesh is so weak and hopeless, I know not what is before.
- One step at a time, dear Savior, I am not walking by sight;
Keep step with my soul, dear Savior, I walk by faith in Thy might.
- One step at a time, dear Savior, O guard my faltering feet;
Keep hold of my hand, dear Savior, Till I my journey complete.
- One step at a time, dear Savior, Thou knowest all of my fear;
One word from Thy heart, dear Savior, And heaven's mansions appear.
Chorus: One step at a time, dear Savior, Till faith grows stronger in Thee;
One step at a time, dear Savior, Till hope grows stronger in me.
"The tune was composed by James H. Rosecrans, who served as song director in some evangelistic campaigns for Shelton. He was the same man who provided the music for 'There Is A Habitation.'
"During the middle and late 1800s, one family which became well known among Christian Churches and Churches of Christ as hymn writers and publishers were the Fillmores. Augustus D. Fillmore was a minister who also compiled several hymnbooks. After his death, his sons, including James H. and Fred A., took over his business and began the Fillmore Brothers Music House in Cincinnati, OH. James did not produce any lyrics but provided tunes for such well-known songs as 'Purer in Heart, O God' and 'I Am Resolved.' Fred was more versatile in that he could provide both words and music, as he did in a familiar song based on the parable of the sower."
- Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, In the morning bright and fair?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, In the heat of the noon day's glare?
- Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, In the still and solemn night?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, For a harvest pure and white?
- Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, All along the fertile way?
Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother, You must reap at the last great day.
Chorus: For the harvest time is coming on, And the reapers' work will soon be done;
Will your sheaves be many, will you garner any, For the gathering at the harvest home?"
"Fred also gave us the well-known song, 'I Know That My Redeemer Lives.'
"Another songwriter for whom there seems to be evidence was a member of the church of Christ during this time, was James Gerald Dailey who was born in 1854. Perhaps his best-known song, for which he wrote the words and composed the tune, was produced in 1892 when Dailey was living in Philadelphia, PA, and has been in nearly all of our books."
- Why did my Savior come to earth, And to the humble go?
Why did He choose a lowly birth? Because He loved me so!
- Why did He drink the bitter cup Of sorrow, pain, and woe?
Why on the cross be lifted up? Because He loved me so!
- And now He bids me look and live, And by His grace to know,
A home in glory He will give, Because He loved me so!
- Till Jesus comes I'll sing His praise, And then to glory go,
And reign with Him through endless days, Because He loved me so!
Chorus: He loved me so; He loved me so;
He gave His precious life for me, Because He loved me so.
"In addition to publishing temperance songs, Dailey wrote another excellent but lesser known hymn called 'The Comfort Song' beginning, 'Our Savior declared of the Father above,' and provided the tune for Mary Ann Kidder's song, 'Fear Not, Little Flock.' Not much else is known about Dailey, even the date and place of his death.
"As you've probably heard in lessons and classes, beginning around 1849, a division in the churches which resulted from the call for returning to the New Testament pattern began to develop, in which some congregations accepted missionary societies in their work and instrumental music in their worship, while others opposed both. Those who favored the innovations became known as Christian Churches and those who rejected them were called churches of Christ. The division became complete and was recognized by the U. S. Census Bureau around 1901. A man born a couple of years after Dailey, Marshall Clement Kurfees who lived from 1856 to 1931 and labored with the Campbell St. church of Christ in Louisville, KY, is best remembered as an effective preacher, scholarly writer, and powerful polemicist. He even authored a book giving Biblical reasons to oppose the use of instrumental music in worship. However, he also wrote some hymns, the best known of which was published in 1887."
- How blest and how joyous will be the glad day When heart beats to heart in the work of the Lord;
When Christians united shall swell the grand lay, 'Divisions all ended, triumphant His word!'"
- Come, brothers and sisters, and join in the fight; Our Savior and Captain has bidden us come.
Then on with the armor and dare to do right; Press on in the struggle till Christians are one."
- The prayer of our Savior impels us move on; Its words are still sounding the call of our King.
And Paul, in devotion, doth echo the song, 'I beg you, my brethren, to speak the same thing.'"
- "Be faithful and true till the warfare is o'er Till factions are foiled and the victory is won,
And millions of voiced shall blend on the shore To welcome us enter our Father's glad home."
Chorus: "O shout the glad word, O hasten the day, When all of God's people are one.
O shout the glad word, O hasten the day, When all of God's people are one."
"During the late 1800s, Kurfees would meet and pray together for the unity of Christians with a preacher from Christian Church in Louisville named Alex C. Hopkins. One result of these meetings is this hymn for which Kurfees wrote the words and Hopkins composed the music.
"One of the first well-known music teachers and hymn writers to emerge among the churches of Christ was Franklin Lycurgus Eiland, who lived from 1860 to 1900. Born in Noxumbie County, MS, he grew up in Texas and helped to organize the Trio Music Company in Waco. He wrote about 120 gospel songs and provided the music for nearly 100 by other writers. In 1895 he was conducting several singing schools in Hamilton County, TX, and spent the night in the home of a nearby friend. While leaving in his buggy the next morning to travel to one of the schools, he looked back at the house and saw the sun rising up behind the eastern hills. This suggested a song theme to him, so he stopped to rest his horse and, while sitting on a rock by the roadside, jotted the song down."
- Look away from the cross to the glittering crown; From your cares, weary one, look away.
There's a home for the soul where no sorrow can come, And where pleasures will never decay.
- Though the burdens of life may be heavy to bear, And your crosses and trials severe,
There's a beautiful hand that is beckoning come, And no heartaches and sighings are there.
- 'Mid the conflicts, the battles, the struggles, and strife, Bravely onward your journey pursue;
Look away from the cross to the glittering crown That's awaiting in heaven for you.
Chorus: Look away, look away, From the cross to the glittering crown;
Look away, look away, From the cross to the glittering crown.
"Another often used hymn by Eiland is the invitation song, 'Don't You Want to Be Ready to Go?' However, Eiland is perhaps best known for the music that he composed for blind poetess Jennie Wilson's 'Hold to God's Unchanging Hand.' In fact, his gravestone in Waco, TX, contains the carved figure of a hand reaching downward. In 1909, Eiland went to Golden, TX, to conduct a singing school and to see an up-and-coming songwriter who lived there named Tillit Teddlie. Unfortunately, Teddlie was out of town, and during the school, Eiland became sick and died at the age of 49.
"John Moody McCaleb, who lived from 1861 to 1953, is another person who today is remembered primarily for one hymn. Six months after his birth in Tennessee, his father was killed when he failed to hear a Civil War sentry's order to halt while crossing a shallow stream. After graduation from college, McCaleb heard the call to 'go into all the world and preach the gospel' and spent much of his adult life working in Japan, conscientiously doing so without the aid of a missionary society to show that God's pattern will work. He wrote a hymn, which was first published in 1921 and reflected his understanding of the need for world evangelism."
- Of one the Lord has made the race, Through one has come the fall;
Where sin has gone must go His grace: The gospel is for all.
- Say not the heathen are at home, Beyond we have no call;
For why should we be blest alone? The gospel is for all.
- Received ye freely, freely give; From every land they call;
Unless they hear they cannot live: The gospel is for all.
Chorus: The blessed gospel is for all, The gospel is for all;
Where sin has gone must go His grace, The gospel is for all.
"The tune used with McCaleb's text is thought to be an American southern folk song which was arranged in 1876 by Rigdon M. MacIntosh. After McCaleb was forced to return to the United States for good in 1940 because of World War II, he taught at George Pepperdine College in Los Angeles, CA, prior to his death.
"A well-known and beloved song leader and hymn writer among churches of Christ, especially in Texas, was James W. Acuff, who lived from 1864 to 1937. I've heard that he was a relative of the country music singer Roy Acuff, but I've never been able to confirm this. James often led singing for protracted meetings and produced several popular gospel songs, especially this one."
- I've a home prepared where the saints abide, Just over in the glory land;
And I long to be by my Savior's side, Just over in the glory land.
- I am on my way to those mansions fair, Just over in the glory land;
There to sing God's praise, and His glory share, Just over in the glory land.
- What a joyful thought that my Lord I'll see, Just over in the glory land;
And with kindred dear there forever be, Just over in the glory land.
- With the blood-washed throng I will shout and sing, Just over in the glory land;
Glad hosannas to Christ, the Lord and King, Just over in the glory land.
Chorus: Just over in the glory land, I'll join the happy angel band, Just over in the glory land;
Just over in the glory land, There with the mighty host I'll stand, Just over in the glory land.
"The tune was composed by Emmet S. Dean, and the song was published in 1906 by the Trio Music Co. which had been co-founded by Franklin L. Eiland. Acuff and Dean, a Methodist, were both associated with Trio, but Acuff also assisted in producing hymnbooks for the Firm Foundation Publishing House in Austin, TX.
"Another Texan who at one time was a well-known songwriter among churches of Christ was Newton W. Allphin, who lived from 1875 to 1972. In addition to his religious music work, he produced piano solos in sheet music and band marches. Later in life, he was a tax accountant. Perhaps his best-known song is 'You Will Reap What You Sow,' from 1938 with music by Virgil O. Stamps. But he also provided both words and music for a little prayer hymn which has appeared in some of our books."
- Blessed Savior, now we pray, Be Thou near us, all the day;
While, before Thy throne we boy, Hear us, Lord, and bless us now.
- Gracious Father, hear our prayer--May we, now, Thy blessings share;
Guide us safely all the way To that home of endless day.
- May our faith and trust, dear Lord, Ever be in Thy blest word;
Keep us ever near Thy side. Let us in Thy love abide.
Chorus: Savior, Savior, keep us near Thy blessed side;
Savior, Savior, let us in Thy love abide.
"Not all hymn-writers in churches of Christ were men. Lula Klingman Zahn, who lived from 1876 to 1948, took two stanzas of unknown origin, supplied a third, and provided a tune for the song."
- There is a sea which day by day Receives the rippling rills,
And streams that spring from wells of God, Or fall from cedared hills.
But what it thus receives it gives With glad unsparing hand;
A stream more wide, with deeper tide, Flows on to lower land.
- There is a sea which day by day Receives a fuller tide;
But all its store it keeps, nor gives To shore nor seas beside.
It's Jordan's stream, now turned to brine, Lies heavy as molten lead;
Its dreadful name doth e'er proclaim That sea is waste and dead.
- Which will it be for you and me, Who God's good gifts obtain?
Shall we accept for self alone, Or take to give again?
For He who was once was rich indeed Laid all His glory down,
That by His grace our ransomed race Should share His wealth and crown.
"'There Is A Sea' was first published in 1921 in Great Songs of the Church No. 1, edited by Elmer Leon Jorgenson.
"Flavil Hall, who was also born in 1876 and lived until 1952, was a hymn writer and hymnbook publisher of the early twentieth century in addition to being a preacher. Along with Samuel H. Hall, also a preacher, he edited several well-known songbooks used among churches of Christ, including The Cross and Resurrection in Song. Not many of Hall's own songs remain in common usage, but he did write an invitation song which achieved some degree of usefulness."
- Wanderer, hear the invitation Sounding forth to one and all.
There's redeeming love in Jesus, If you heed His gracious call.
- He has promised you salvation; O believe Him, and repent,
Be baptized into His kingdom, Thus receiving His imprint.
- To eternity you're going, Fast as time can bear you on;
Soon the day of preparation Will for evermore be gone.
Chorus: Come to Jesus, dying sinner, O receive Him and be blest.
Come to Him in consecration; He will sweetly give you rest.
Come, believing and repenting, And obey Jehovah's word.
Be baptized into His kingdom, And be saved through Jesus' blood.
"For the tune, Hall adapted an old melody called 'Holy Manna' which was first published in the 1825 Columbia Harmony by William Moore and often ascribed to him, which was used with a text beginning, 'Brethren, we have met to worship' attributed to George Atkins. One of Hall's sons, Gardner S. Hall, two of Gardner's grandsons, Sewell and Bill Hall, two of his grandsons-in-law, Lynn Headrick and Frank Perkins, and several of his great-grandsons, including Gardner Hall, Frank Perkins Jr., and Greg Perkins, have all preached the gospel.
"James Ferrill, who was born in 1879, a few years after Hall, and lived until 1973, gave us one much-used song. A native Texan, he had begun a thorough music course with the Analytical New Light Normal School of Waco, TX, in 1905, and was given the assignment to write words to the title, 'I Want to Be a Soul Winner for Jesus.' After the class ended, he continued working on it for a couple of years before submitting it to the Quartet Music Company."
- I want to be a soul winner for Jesus every day, He does so much for me;
I want to aid the lost sinner to leave his erring way, And be from bondage free.
- I want to be a soul winner and bring the lost to Christ, That they His grace may know;
I want to live for Christ ever and do His blessed will, Because He loves me so.
- I want to be a soul winner till Jesus calls for me To lay my burdens down;
I want to hear Him say, 'Sinner, you've gathered many sheaves, Receive a shining crown.
Chorus : A soul winner for Jesus, a soul winner for Jesus, O let me be each day;
A soul winner for Jesus, a soul winner for Jesus, He's done so much for me.
"A couple of Ferrill's other songs that have remained popular are 'Wonderful City of God' and 'Keep Telling the Story.'
"Austin Taylor, who lived from 1881 to 1973, was born in Kentucky but moved with his family to Texas while still a young man and became a well-known songwriter among churches of Christ. In 1911, he was sitting in his study trying to write a new song. Several attempts had been can in the waste can. A preacher friend came by for a visit and during the conversation picked up one of the discarded sheets. He read it and pronounced it worthwhile, so Taylor decided to go ahead and publish it."
- Closer to Thee, near to Thy side, Closer, dear Lord, I would abide;
Hold me in Thy embrace, 'Neath every smile of grace,
Grant me, Thy child, a place Closer to Thee.
- Closer to Thee, near to Thy breast, Closer to Thee, Lord, let me rest;
Guide me when I would stray, Keep me from sin each day,
Draw me, dear Lord, I pray, Closer to Thee.
- Closer to Thee, closer each day, In from the world, draw me away;
Let me abide with Thee, Blest Lamb of Calvary,
O let me ever be Closer to Thee.
- Closer to Thee, happy and free, Grant me, O Lord, ever to be;
Hear me in every cry, Stand near when I must die,
Then take me home on high, Closer to Thee.
"A couple of years later, in 1913, one of Taylor's sons wanted to go riding as a passenger on a two-seater airplane with a barnstormer. Taylor said no, but the boy slipped away and started the ride anyway. However, the plane crashed and the son was killed. Shortly afterward, Taylor produced the song, 'Home on the Banks of the River.' In 1916, he published what is probably his most used song, 'Do All in the Name of the Lord.' Taylor continued to teach singing schools until 1972 when he was 91.
"A contemporary of Taylor was William Washington Slater, who lived from 1885 to 1959. Born in Arkansas and raised in Oklahoma, he became both a preacher and a songwriter. One of his earliest songs for which he wrote both words and music was published in 1912."
- There's a home for the soul where no sorrow can come; 'Tis the land where the Savior doth reign.
Oh! what joy waiting there for the children of God, When they meet on that bright, golden plain!
- Let us labor and pray for the cause of the Lord, Though the way often seems dark and drear;
If we're faithful to Him, He will give us a crown In that home for the soul over there.
- Some bright day we shall meet with the Savior so dear, If we'll only live faithful and true;
'Tis the home for the soul He has gone to prepare, And it's waiting for me and for you.
- Bravely onward we'll go, though the clouds may appear, And our burdens may seem hard to bear;
Blessed hope, Oh, how sweet! we will meet loved ones dear In that home for the soul over there.
Chorus: Oh! that home for the soul, Where we'll rest by and by;
Oh! what joy it will be, Blessed Lord, There with Thee.
"As a hymnbook publisher, Slater arranged Horatio R. Palmer's song 'Angry Words' for four-part harmony and added a fourth stanza to Elbert Bailey's song 'Watch and Pray.' However, his best-known hymn is undoubtedly 'Walking Alone at Eve' for which he provided a tune for words by Thomas R. Sweatmon. In 1959, Slater taught a singing school in rural Arkansas and preached a meeting at another congregation nearby. On Saturday night, not long after speaking in the evening service, he passed away in the home where he was staying.
"Tillit Sidney Teddlie, whose name you noticed, was also born in 1885, and lived until 1987, dying at the age of 102. As I said, he was probably one of the most prolific and famous hymn-writers among churches of Christ during the twentieth century. Baptized in 1903, he was always interested in music. In 1912, before he began his work of gospel preaching, he was farming at Golden, TX, where Franklin Eiland had gone to see him and passed away. Wearing bib overalls with an envelope and a pencil about an inch long in the pocket, he passed by the place where he had made the good confession and been baptized several years earlier, and it reminded him of his hope of heaven, so he sat down under a hickory tree by the side of the road and wrote one of his best-known hymns."
- Earth holds no treasures but perish with using, However precious they be;
Yet there's a country to which I am going: Heaven holds all to me.
- Out on the hills of that wonderful country, Happy, contented, and free,
Loved ones are waiting and watching my coming: Heaven holds all to me.
- Why should I long for the world with its sorrows, When in that home o'er the sea,
Millions are singing the wonderful story? Heaven holds all to me.
Chorus: Heaven holds all to me, Brighter its glory will be;
Joy without measure will be my treasure: Heaven holds all to me.
"Several years later, in 1921, he heard a sermon by Foy E. Wallace, Jr., on the subject of 'The Duty of Constant Communion,' and wrote one of his most often used hymns, 'The Lord's Supper,' which begins, 'When we meet in sweet communion.' After beginning his preaching work in 1923, he was living in Belton, TX, and early one Sunday morning in 1930 sat down on his front porch with his copy of B. W. Johnson's New Testament Notes to finish his sermon. Between chapters 4 and 5, there was an artist's illustration of worship with the 24 elders before the throne saying, 'Thou art worthy to receive blessing and honor and praise and thanksgiving," so he took his pencil and wrote one of his greatest hymns, 'Worthy Art Thou,' on the flyleaf of the book.
"One year after Teddlie was born, another man who influenced hymn publishing among churches of Christ was born. Elmer Leon Jorgenson lived from 1886 to 1968. The son of Danish immigrants to Nebraska, he decided to publish a hymnbook for use in churches of Christ in 1921 which he called Great Songs of the Church. Jorgenson composed several tunes and arranged various hymns but was not known for writing lyrics. However, he did translate some hymns from other languages, including one originally written in 1837 by German Lutheran minister Johann Hey, which Jorgenson set to a German folk melody which he presumably arranged."
- Can you count the stars of evening That are shining in the sky?
Can you count the clouds that daily Over all the world go by?
God the Lord, who doth not slumber, Keepeth all the boundless number:
But He careth more for thee, But He careth more for thee.
- Can you count the birds that warble In the sunshine all the day?
Can you count the little fishes That in sparkling waters play?
God the Lord their number knoweth, For each one His care He showeth:
Shall He not remember thee? Shall He not remember thee?
- Can you count the many children In their little beds at night,
Who without a thought of sorrow Rise again at morning light?
God the Lord, who dwells in heaven, Loving care to each has given:
He has not forgotten thee, He has not forgotten thee.
"Jorgenson enlarged his hymnbook in 1922 and again in 1925, then came out with Great Songs of the Church No. 2 in 1937. This was one of the first hymnbooks among churches of Christ to receive widespread use in congregations throughout the entire United States.
"Another woman hymn writer among churches of Christ was Ruth Johnson Carruth, who lived from 1900 to 1985. A schoolteacher prior to her marriage, she continued to write poetry throughout her life. Her husband Roy was injured in World War I and spent his time preaching for small congregations in Texas and California. Most of her hymns have music composed by Teddlie, the best known of which was published in 1939."
- Swiftly we're turning life's daily pages; Swiftly the hours are turning to years.
How are we using God's golden moments? Shall we reap glory? Shall we reap tears?
- Millions are groping without the gospel; Quickly they'll reach eternity's night.
Shall we sit idly as they rush onward? Haste, let us hold up Christ the true light.
- Souls that are precious, souls that are dying, While we rejoice our sins are forgiven--
Did He not also die for these lost ones? Then let us point the way unto heaven.
Chorus: Into our hands the gospel is given; Into our hands is given the light.
Haste, let us carry God's precious message, Guiding the erring back to the right.
"It has become very popular among our brethren. Two other hymns by her with music by Teddlie that I have seen are 'You Can Lead Someone to Jesus' and 'One of His Own.'
"Another individual who exerted great influence over the hymns used in churches of Christ was born a year after Mrs. Carruth. Lloyd Otis Sanderson lived from 1901 to 1992. In addition to his work of preaching, he was hired by the Gospel Advocate Co. of Nashville, TN, to edit hymnbooks for them. Christian Hymns was published in 1935, Christian Hymns No. 2 in 1948, and Christian Hymns No. 3 in 1966. For these books, Sanderson not only chose the best hymns and gospel songs by others but provided many of his own. For some, he produced both words and music and for others he composed tunes for hymns by different authors. However, my favorite is the text that he wrote for an old camp meeting tune and chorus that dates back to at least 1898."
- Why did the Savior heaven leave, And come to earth below,
Where men His grace would not receive? Because He loves me so!
- Why did the Savior mark the way, And why temptation know?
Why teach and toil and plead and pray? Because He loves me so!
- Why feel the garden's dreadful dross? Why through His trials go?
Why suffer death upon the cross? Because He loves me so!
Chorus: He loves me! He loves me! He loves me, this I know!
He gave Himself to die for me, Because He loves me so.
"I think that Mom has dinner just about ready, but one other hymn writer in churches of Christ was Robert C. Welch, who lived from 1916 to 2003. Also a preacher, he was always interested in music and song leading. Around 1942, while a student a Freed Hardeman College and living in Lawrenceburg, TN, he led singing in a meeting at Florence, AL, in which Roy Cogdill preached. The lesson was on the subject of the authority of the word, and Robert wrote a hymn that night in the hotel room where he was staying."
- O Father, guide me here below The riches of Thy grace to know;
And teach me as I journey on The Word of God to lean upon.
- I know that Thou has made the way So clear that I can never stray;
Yet in my weakness I may fall When I forget my All in all.
- O help me trust in Thee for aid, And by Thy word may I be made
To see the glorious height sublime To which my soul, by faith, shall climb.
- 'Tis faith and hope that light my way To that celestial land of day;
God is the light when I get there, Eternal bliss with Him to share.
"This hymn was not published until 1963 when Robert edited a hymnbook entitled Abiding Hymns. Unfortunately, this hymnbook is no longer in print, and none of the other hymnbook editors among us have seen fit to include this or any of Robert's other six hymns. Oh, I hear Mom calling us to come to dinner, so let's go."