Posted by: rcottrill | January 19, 2010

Today in 1836 – Henry Gilmour Born

BGraphic Harbourorn in Ireland, Henry Lake Gilmour went to sea at the age of 16 to learn navigation. When the ship reached Philadelphia, he decided to seek his fortune in America. He became a house painter, and served during the Civil War with the 1st New Jersey Cavalry. During a battle, he was captured, and spent months in a Confederate prison. After the war, Gilmour trained as a dentist, an occupation he had for many years.

In 1869 he moved to Wenonah, New Jersey, where a Methodist church was organized, at first meeting in his home. He served the church for years as a Sunday School superintendent and choir director. He was also in great demand as a song leader in the camp meetings of the day. Gilmour wrote many gospel songs, and published more than 16 song compilations.

The most familiar song of Henry Gilmour’s today is The Haven of Rest. In it he pictures the sinner seeking a safe harbour, and he presents the Lord Jesus Himself as that harbour.

My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying, “Make Me your choice”;
And I entered the Haven of Rest!

I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest,
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep o’er wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
In faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.

The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the Haven of Rest.

If you are unsure of the eternal safety of your own soul, listen to the simple gospel appeal of an Irish pastor, based on Henry Gilmour’s song.

(2) Data Missing – As a Volunteer
The gospel song As a Voluteer, published in the early twentiety century, is a call to action. With Paul the author summons believers to serve the Lord, and “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Tim. 2:3). The author of the words is W. S. Brown, but I’ve been able to find out nothing more about him.

A call for loyal soldiers comes to one and all;
Soldiers for the conflict, will you heed the call?
Will you answer quickly, with a ready cheer,
Will you be enlisted as a volunteer?

A volunteer for Jesus, a soldier true!
Others have enlisted, why not you?
Jesus is the Captain, we will never fear,
Will you be enlisted as a volunteer?

Yes, Jesus calls for soldiers who are filled with pow’r,
Soldiers who will serve Him ev’ry day and hour;
He will not forsake you, He is ever near;
Will you be enlisted as a volunteer?


  1. Both of these songs are heard in my head as men’s quartet selections. The first one, of course, was the theme music for the radio programme, “The Haven of Rest” which featured a men’s quartet. It could very well be that is where I heard “As a Volunteer” too.

    • Yes, I should have mentioned the connection of the first song with the Haven of Rest quartet–and I too can hear the songs in my head as great male voice numbers. But I’ve also used hymn books over the years which contain them for congregational use. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I still miss the old “Haven of Rest” program.

    • Don’t think the radio program was on when or where we could get it, but I do have a recording of the quartet.

  3. The Christian stations that carried it usually aired it late at night. I listened to it from 11 – 11:30 p.m. as I drove home from my second-shift lab tech job back in the early 80’s. Then I got a day shift job; then I moved to another state, and I didn’t hear the program for about 10 years. The next time I heard it I was shocked at the changes in the music. I wrote to them and pled with them to discard their contemporary music and styles, but to no avail. Today, the program is called just “Haven,” and it’s but a shadow of what it used to be. I don’t listen to it; in fact, if I accidentally come across it on the dial, I turn it off.

    • I’ve experienced this shift to “contemporary” music in other settings too. I wonder what’s behind it. Not the same thing in every case, I’m sure. It could be motivated by a sincere desire to reach others for Christ. But sometimes it may be a pride thing–not wanting anyone to call us “old-fashioned” (Horrors!) For others, I’m pretty sure it’s an economic concern. I worked in a Bible college years ago that suddenly decided they needed to incorporate rock music into their advertising, in order the fill desks with young bodies. I argued against it, with only a little success.

      Sadly, this kind of compromise has often affected doctrine too. Instead of standing firm on the fundamentals of the faith, churches, and Christian agencies, have reduced their core beliefs to the lowest common denominator, in order to remain popular and financially solvent. Or perhaps a church does so in order to appeal to the unchurched. (In the latter case, it could well mean the saints are not being properly fed.)

      Nearly 20,000 visitors to my blog, from over 40 countries of the world, have convinced me that there are many folks out there who still love the old hymns, played and sung in a straightforward way. Thanks for being a voice among them!

  4. […] The Haven of Rest was written (unsurprisingly) by an Irish sailor, Henry Gilmour, who came to America at an early age. (more on Henry’s life) […]

  5. I will soon be 82. Just turned a widow. I am moving in with my granddaughter and her family. I don’t want to call it “basement,” so I named it my Haven of Rest. I play that song, and my husband sang it so beautifully. So I am moving into my Haven of Rest.

    • How lovely! Thanks for sharing the thought. I hope you find your new haven restful indeed. God bless you.


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