Posted by: rcottrill | February 9, 2010

Today in 1872 – Edith Cherry Born

English poetess, Edith Gilling Cherry was stricken with polio in infancy, and for the rest of her brief life she walked with the aid of crutches. (Miss Cherry died at the age of 25.) Most of her poems were written before she was 15 years old. She was a deeply spiritual young woman, ever conscious of her spiritual failings.

Edith Cherry gave the glory to God for her rich and insightful poetry. When she lay dying, after suffering a stroke, she said, “It all seems so small, all I have tried to do, so small to Him.” Her mother answered, “There are your songs, dear, they will carry on your work.” But Edith quickly replied, “Ah, but they were not mine at all, they were just given to me all ready, and all I had to do was write them down.”

Miss Cherry’s beautiful hymn, We Rest on Thee, was sung on January 8th, 1956, by the five missionaries about to make contact with the Auca Indians of Ecuador. Shortly afterward, they were all martyred. Elisabeth Elliot, wife of Jim Elliot, one of the five, drew the title for her book, Through Gates of Splendour, from a line of Edith Cherry’s hymn. This great hymn should be used more often that it has been. The tune is Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius. 

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.

Yes, in Thy name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendour,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.

Here a couple of clips featuring this hymn. In the first, it is being sung as a congregational hymn–reverently, and prayerfully.  On the video clip that follows, the singing is not great. But you can turn down the sound and get the inspiring story of the martyred missionaries to the Aucas in pictures with captions.

(2) Today in 1965 – Harold Loes Died
Born Harold Loes, the American gospel song writer took the middle name Dixon in honour of A. C. Dixon, the pastor of Moody Church at the time. Harry Dixon Loes studied at Moody Bible Institute, and after extensive training in music he served a number of churches with a ministry of music. From 1939 until his retirement he was a member of the music faculty of Moody Bible Institute. He wrote the lyrics for 1,500 gospel songs, and composed 3,000 tunes.

One day in 1915, Paul Rader preached a sermon in Moody Church, in Chicago. His theme was, “All that I want is in Jesus.” In the congregation was young Harry Dixon Loes, then a senior at Moody Bible Institute, where he would eventually teach. Inspired by Dr. Rader’s message, Harry Loes wrote the words and music for a song he called All Things in Jesus. It was first sung by the church’s youth group.

Friends all around me are trying to find
What the heart yearns for, by sin undermined;
I have the secret, I know where ’tis found:
Only true pleasures in Jesus abound.

All that I want is in Jesus.
He satisfies, joy He supplies;
Life would be worthless without Him;
All things in Jesus I find.

Some carry burdens whose weight has for years
Crushed them with sorrow and blinded with tears.
Yet One stands ready to help them just now,
If they will humbly in penitence bow.


  1. I read the article about Edith Cherry. I will continue to read and enjoy the stories about the Church’s spirit-inspired history in music and verse. Thank you so much!!! After listening to the formal church’s version of “We Rest on Thee”, I listened to the music and read along with the script on the video telling a modest story about the five missionaries who gave their lives in His Name. Rather than finding the music below par for the video, I found it beautifully refreshing and touching. I have to admit I would not have gotten as much from the video had I not listened to the soloist singing along with her guitar. If you don’t mind, I would suggest encouraging visitors who come to the site to keep the sound on when viewing the second video. Both together blessed me. I know God’s blesses you – as is evident through your ministry here, and I pray He continue to increase your strength, inspire your thoughts, and cause you to grow more and more like Him!

    • Thanks for your encouragement. Glad you got a blessing from the posting. As to the sound on the second video. H-m-m… Well, I calls ’em as I sees ’em. But of course I’m only stating a personal opinion. For me, it was not a good presentation. Repetitious strumming of the guitar, and mediocre singing. But folks are free to listen to the sound if they like.

    • I, too, found the soloist to have a very pleasing voice. It added a lot to the video

      • H-m-m… Well, I listened again, to see if she sounded any better to me. No, sorry. Not a solo voice. And the monotonous rinky-tink guitar is too loud for the vocal as well.

  2. The second video clip is much improved with no sound.

    • Indeed!

  3. Ms. Born most certainly would enjoy such attention her hymn is eliciting here! 🙂 Thinking back over the video/audio and my initial comment, I believe I was speaking as much about the entire audio rather than the hymn by itself. I have so much respect for others’ opinions; I feel I must confess to being most presumptuous in suggesting Mr. Cottrill ‘adjust’ his recommendation! For that I ask to be excused. 🙂

    I appreciated the soloist’s efforts, even though it was not as artful as more formal renditions. I wonder if she sang in conjunction with the video…at the same time she was watching it. Perhaps there is some personal connection she has with one of the families of the missionaires who were martyred. Interesting thought. Thanks again and again for sharing thoughts with me!

  4. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  5. Only last week I googled ‘Elizabeth Elliot’ and realized that she had died in 2015! The first and only time I heard her in person was many years ago when I attended the Urbana Conference. In my youth I had devoured some of her books and the story of the 5 martyrs, of course. Now I’m discovering her all over again. I’ve watched the 2 Memorial videos on YouTube several times and any other information I could get. That was when I heard “We Rest on Thee” and saw that it was the last song the 5 missionaries had sung before their fatal mission. That was new to me.

    That hymn is not in our church hymnals, but I saw it in one of my other books. How prophetic that last stanza was! I then googled the author, E. G. Cherry, and I was glad to learn about her life. Thank you, very much. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for your encouragement. The story of the martyred missionaries has inspired many, and the hymn that they sang is a great one. So is the other that commonly uses the tune Finlandia, Katarina von Schlegel’s Be Still, My Soul. Hope you have that one in your church hymnal. 🙂 God bless.


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