Posted by: rcottrill | January 20, 2010

Today in 1839 – Samuel Martin Born

Samuel Wesley Martin was the organist at an Episcopal church in Chicago. In addition to writing a number of books on music, he has given us one gospel song, The Gospel Bells Are Ringing. It seemed an appropriate companion to Harry Bollback’s Ring the Bells, discussed below!

The gospel bells are ringing,
Over land, from sea to sea:
Blessèd news of free salvation
Do they offer you and me.
“For God so loved the world
That His only Son He gave;
Whosoe’er believeth in Him
Everlasting life shall have.”

Gospel bells, how they ring;
Over land from sea to sea;
Gospel bells freely bring
Blessèd news to you and me.

The gospel bells are joyful,
As they echo far and wide,
Bearing notes of perfect pardon,
Through a Saviour crucified.
“Good tidings of great joy
To all people do I bring,
Unto you is born a Saviour,
Who is Christ the Lord and King.”

(2) Today in 1879 – Albert Reitz Born
Albert Simpson Reitz was the son of an American Methodist pastor. For some years he traveled with evangelist Henry Ostrom as a soloist. Then, after attending Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago, he became a Baptist pastor. Reitz also authored over 100 hymns. Several of these are still found in some song and hymn books. For example, ‘Twas a Glad Day When Jesus Found Me.

I was lost in sin when Jesus found me,
But He rescued me, all glory to His name!
And the cords of worldly pleasure bound me,
Till He saved me from sin and shame.

Twas a glad day when Jesus found me,
When His strong arms were thrown around me;
When my sins He buried in the deepest sea,
And my soul He filled with joy and victory.
’Twas a glad day, O hallelujah!
’Twas a glad day He claimed His own.
I will shout a glad hosanna in glory
When I see Him upon His throne.

Perhaps more familiar than this is Pastor Reitz’s song Teach Me to Pray. He served several churches, but at last went to Rosehill Baptist Church, in California, and pastored that congregation for 26 years. During his time there, an inspiring Day of Prayer was conducted. He reports, “From early morning, we prayed, and God definitely made His presence real to us.” The following morning, reflecting on the blessings of the day before, Pastor Reitz says he realized anew how much we have to learn about the discipline of prayer. And with that in mind he penned the words and music of his prayer hymn, based on the words of Christ’s disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk. 11:1).

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me;
Constant abiding, this is my plea;
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free:
Power with me and power with Thee.

(2) Today in 1925 – Harry Bollback Born
HGraphic Church Bellsarry Bollback was a musical prodigy. At the age of 12 he gave his first piano concert. After trusting Christ as his Saviour when he was 16, he went on to many years of service for the Lord with evangelist Jack Wyrtzen and Word of Life Ministries, particularly in the area of music. But from 1950 to 1970, Mr. and Mrs. Bollback served as missionaries in Brazil.

One of Harry’s best known songs was created as he waited at a bus station in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Bollback was on his way to visit a fellow missionary in another town. It was Christmas time, and about six in the evening. Bells were ringing everywhere to mark “the hour of Mary.” But Mr. Bollback thought to himself that it was not Mary they should be celebrating, but the coming of the Lord Jesus. In that instant a carol began to take shape in the missionary’s mind. He found a piece of paper, and scribbled out both words and music as he stood in line at the terminal. Ring the Bells has since become a popular Christmas song.

Ring the bells, ring the bells, let the whole world know,
Christ was born in Bethlehem many years ago.
Born to die that man might live, came to earth new life to give,
Born of Mary, born so low, many years ago.


  1. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber Hymnal (about Pastor […]


%d bloggers like this: