Behind the Hymn: Hold the Fort

Ira Sankey wrote “Mr. Bliss said to me once, not long before his death, that he hoped that he would not be known to posterity only as the author of Hold the Fort, for he believed that he had written many better songs. However, when I attended the dedication of the Bliss monument, at Rome, Pennsylvania, I found these words […]

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Hymn Story: Surely Goodness and Mercy

Surely Goodness and Mercy is another beautiful hymn that I grew up singing but only recently did I read the amazing story behind this hymn. The hymn was the collaboration of two well known gospel music writers, John W. Peterson and Alfred B. Smith. In 1958, the two men collaborated to write a song based on Psalm 23. Mr. Smith […]

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Hymn Story: Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

In one of his sermons, Dwight L. Moody, the famed 19th Century evangelist, provided an anecdote of a pilot during the storm.  He spoke of how not even a star was visible on this night, as the ship captain neared harbor. Then he saw only light from a nearby lighthouse of Cleveland Harbor.  The lower lights had gone out and […]

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Hymn Story: Jesus Loves Even Me

Philip Bliss attended a service where the hymn O How I Love Jesus was sung repeatedly. After the service, he remarked, “Have I not been singing enough about my poor love for Jesus and shall I not rather sing of His great love for me?” He sat down and quickly composed this hymn, which soon became a favorite of both […]

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Behind the Hymn: Man of Sorrows

We are in the Lent season and preparing for Easter Sunday.  However, before we can reach the light we must pass through the darkness. Philip P. Bliss wrote both the text and tune to the haunting hymn, Man of Sorrows.  The hymn is based on Isaiah 52-53.  In these scripture passages, the prophet Isaiah, depicts the suffering servant. Man of […]

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