Posted by: rcottrill | November 17, 2010

Today in 1911 – Flora Cassel Died

Flora Hamilton Cassell partnered with her husband, Elijah Taylor Cassel in writing the gospel songs Loyalty to Christ, and The King’s Business. He wrote the words, and his wife gave us the tunes.

Elijah Cassel trained as a doctor and practiced for awhile in Nebraska. Around 1910 he entered the ministry, pastoring churches in Colorado. For her part, Flora was a trained musician and composer. She showed her musical gifts even in childhood, being able to sing and accompany herself, while still a small girl.

Loyalty to Christ was written in 1894 for the first convention of the Baptist Young People’s Union. It is a challenge to commitment to Christ, but there is little depth or spiritual insight in its message. And one wonders about the meaning of “We’ll soon possess the land.” It may be an allusion to the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites. But the parallel of that today is found in believers living in spiritual victory and the enjoyment of the abundant life Christ promised (Jn. 10:10), not in conquering a country. If evangelism is the subject, that application is not made clear in the song. For a bit more on this hymn, see Today in 1930.)

From over hill and plain there comes the signal strain,
’Tis loyalty, loyalty, loyalty to Christ;
Its music rolls along, the hills take up the song,
Of loyalty, loyalty, yes, loyalty to Christ.

“On to victory! On to victory!”
Cries our great Commander, “On!”
We’ll move at His command,
We’ll soon possess the land,
Through loyalty, loyalty,
Yes, loyalty to Christ.

The King’s Business has a clearer biblical message. It is based on II Cor. 5:20, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” The Bible says Christians are citizens of the heavenly kingdom (Phil. 3:20), but we are here for a time as representatives of the King, to declare His message to a needy world.

I am a stranger here, within a foreign land;
My home is far away, upon a golden strand;
Ambassador to be of realms beyond the sea,
I’m here on business for my King.

This is the message that I bring,
A message angels fain would sing:
“Oh, be ye reconciled,”
Thus saith my Lord and King,
“Oh, be ye reconciled to God.”

DISCOVERING THE SONGS OF CHRISTMAS. With the arrival of fall, we begin to think of the Christmas season up ahead. If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at mine, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)

(2) More from William Cushing
William Orcutt Cushing has given us many fine gospel songs, including Hiding in Thee and Under His Wings. In 1878, he published a song of commitment called simply Follow On. Mr. Cushing said this about it:

Long­ing to give up all for Christ who had giv­en his life for me, I want­ed to be will­ing to lay ev­er­ything at his feet, with no wish but to do his will, to live hence­forth on­ly for his glo­ry. Out of this feel­ing came the hymn, ‘Fol­low On.’

Down in the valley with my Saviour I would go,
Where the flowers are blooming and the sweet waters flow;
Everywhere He leads me I would follow, follow on,
Walking in His footsteps till the crown be won.

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

Down in the valley with my Saviour I would go,
Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow;
With His hand to lead me I will never, never fear,
Danger cannot fright me if my Lord is near.


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