Posted by: rcottrill | March 8, 2010

Today in 1857 – William Fullerton Born

William Young Fullerton was born in Ireland. He was converted through the ministry of Charles Spurgeon, later becoming a respected Baptist clergyman himself. He served as secretary of the Baptist Missionary Union, and evenually president of the Baptist Union. The one hymn for which he is known is I Cannot Tell, which is one of a number of texts making use of the beautiful melody Londonderry Air. (The old ballad O Danny Boy is sung to this tune, but it’s put to better use here.)

I cannot tell why He whom angels worship,
Should set His love upon the sons of men,
Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wanderers,
To bring them back, they know not how or when.
But this I know, that He was born of Mary
When Bethlehem’s manger was His only home,
And that He lived at Nazareth and labored,
And so the Saviour, Saviour of the world is come.

I cannot tell how silently He suffered,
As with His peace He graced this place of tears,
Or how His heart upon the cross was broken,
The crown of pain to three and thirty years.
But this I know, He heals the brokenhearted,
And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear,
And lifts the burden from the heavy laden,
For yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world is here.

(2) Today in 1877 – Noah Herrell Born
Noah Benjamin Herrell was a pastor with the Nazarene denomination. In 1916, when serving a church near Olivet, Illinois, he and his wife went through a time of deep sorrow and suffering with the death of their 5-year-old son William. Pastor Herrell says,

I began to realize more fully what our heavenly Father had gone through in giving His Son to die on the cross. It was a fearful and fateful day when the creature crucified his Creator. Even nature trembled and refused to look upon that dread scene enacted on Golgotha.

Herrell thought of the how, at the moment of Christ’s death, “The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom,” miraculously, by an unseen Hand (Matt. 27:51). It was a sign from God that, through the shed blood of the Saviour, a new and living way had been opened into His presence (Heb. 10:19-20). Noah Herrell continues:

The truth so took hold of me that, had I been an artist, I would have painted a picture; but I used the talent God had given me and wrote The Unveiled Christ.

Once our blessèd Christ of beauty
Was veiled off from human view;
But through suffering, death and sorrow
He has rent the veil in two.

O behold the Man of Sorrows,
O behold Him in plain view;
Lo! He is the mighty Conqueror,
Since He rent the veil in two.
Lo! He is the mighty Conqueror,
Since He rent the veil in two.

Now He is with God the Father,
Interceding there for you;
For He is the mighty conqueror,
Since He rent the veil in two.

(3) Today in 1989 – Stuart Hamblen Died
One evening, actor John Wayne threw a party and invited some friends over. As the evening wore on, Wayne and his guests began discussing the effectiveness of psychiatrists. It seemed that most of them had been in “analysis” for emotional problems at one time or another. But did it help? Opinions were mixed. Few seemed sure that the treatment had done much good, or been worth the money. Then one fellow offered the observation, “Well, it’s no secret what God can do.”

For many years he had been a hard drinker, living a godless and profane life. Yet in spite of his wild ways, he had had a successful career in show business. In 1926, he became radio’s first singing cowboy, and three years later he recorded songs with the Victor Talking Machine Company (later called RCA). He made western films with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, as well as John Wayne. But recently he had put his faith in Christ, and his life had been transformed. He was a saved man, and he knew it. He had discovered first hand what God could do, and he gave up the entertainment business  to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

That social evening eventually broke up, and John Wayne said goodbye to his guests. When he shook hands with the new Christian he remarked, “That was an interesting comment you made. Maybe you could write a song about it.” And the fellow, whose name was Carl Stuart Hamblen, did just that.

Stuart Hamblen went on to write many gospel songs. But that night he created a song that has been translated into more than 50 languages. The original manuscript is buried in the cornerstone of a building of the Library of Congress.  When they arrived home from the Wayne’s house nearby, Stuart’s wife Suzi headed up to bed, but he sat down to consider the idea. What could he say as his testimony of what the Lord had done in His life? Just then, the clock struck the midnight hour, and that gave him his opening line.

The chimes of time ring out the news; another day is through.
Someone slipped and fell. Was that someone you?
You may have longed for added strength, your courage to renew,
Do not be disheartened, for I bring hope to you.

It is no secret what God can do.
What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.
With arms wide open, He’ll welcome you–
It is no secret what God can do.

Here’s a classic film clip from Billy Graham’s evangelistic meetings in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1957. Dr Graham introduces Stuart Hamblen himself, who sings It Is No Secret. (Forgive Billy’s hyperbole in claiming that Hamblen “has written some of the greatest hymns”!)  No question this rough, tough cowboy became a wonderful trophy of God’s grace.


  1. […] No Secret is his best known song. (To hear Hamblen himself sing this song, see the third item under Today in 1857.) Another of his songs, Until Then expresses the Christian’s hope of heaven with colourful […]

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber Hymanl (Stuart […]

  3. […] 20, 1908; d. Mar. 8, 1989) Music: Carl Stuart Hamblen Links: Wordwise Hymns Stuart Hamblen born, died) The Cyber Hymnal (Stuart […]


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