Posted by: rcottrill | January 29, 2010

Today in 1739 – Thomas Shepherd Died

Thomas Shepherd was a clergyman in England. He began ministry in Anglican churches, but in 1694 he became pastor of the Independent Castle Hill Baptist Meeting, Northampton (a congregation later pastored by hymn writer Philip Doddridge). Shepherd also wrote a number of hymns, but only a fragment of one remains in common use.

The hymn Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone? is based on the Lord’s call to discipleship:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matt. 16:24)

This is not a popular message today, but it is still in the Scriptures! The Lord is issuing a call to discipleship. And for a believer to “deny himself” is not the same a self denial (e.g. refusing a second piece of pie, or a trip to Disneyland). To deny the Self is to reject selfishness and self interest at its very root, submitting to the will of God in all things. The follower of Christ is to be totally committed to Him, even if it means persecution and death.

The stanzas of the hymn have at least four different authors. But Thomas Shepherd is credited with giving us the first of them.

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for everyone,
And there’s a cross for me.

The consecrated cross I’ll bear
Till death shall set me free;
And then go home my crown to wear,
For there’s a crown for me.

(2) Today in 1866 – Tell Me the Old, Old Story written
Arabella Katherine Hankey, better known as “Kate” to her friends, was a wealthy banker’s daughter who lived in England. In her early thirties, she took gravely ill, and was told that if she didn’t spend at least the next year in bed she would die. She agreed to the confinement, but took with her a stack of writing paper. While bedridden, Miss Hankey wrote a long (50-stanza) poem on the life of Christ. Part I she called “The Story Wanted,” and Part II was entitled “The Story Told.”

From the first section, which hymn historian John Julian says was completed on this date, comes our hymn, Tell Me the Old, Old Story. The second section, completed on November 18th of the same year, has given us a second hymn,  I Love to Tell the Story.

Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.

Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.

Katherine Hankey was devoted to Sunday School work. She also made a trip to South Africa to care for an infirm brother. That trip awakened as well a keen interest in foreign missions, leading her to commit all of the profits of her literary efforts to worldwide evangelism.


Responses

  1. Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
    And all the world go free?
    No, there’s a cross for everyone,
    And there’s a cross for me.

    The consecrated cross I’ll bear
    Till death shall set me free;
    And then go home my crown to wear,
    For there’s a crown for me.

    These words are very powerful. I wish I know this song.
    I am so glad to be here and be bless by your post.
    God is glorified in your blog, Robert.

  2. […] poem. In the first section, which the author called “The Story Wanted,” are found the words of Tell Me the Old, Old Story. From the second section, “The Story Told,” we have the song I Love to Tell the […]

  3. […] (completed Jan. 29, 1866), which the author called “The Story Wanted,” are found the words of Tell Me the Old, Old Story. From the second section (completed Nov. 18, 1866), “The Story Told,” we have the song I Love […]

  4. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  5. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


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