William Fisk Sherwin studied music under Lowell Mason. He later worked at the New England Conservatory of Music, and taught singing in Massachusetts and New York. Sherwin was a music editor with Biglow and Main Publishers (who published many of Fanny Crosby’s songs). He took a special interest in the Sunday School, and produced books of songs for that ministry. Sherwin was also the first director of music at the Chautauqua Camp. In the latter capacity, he provided the tunes for Mary Lathbury’s Break Thou the Bread of Life, and Day Is Dying in the West.
Though he produced mainly music, Mr. Sherwin did write a few song texts himself, including God’s Great Love. You can see and hear Sherwin’s original on the Cyber Hymnal, but below is part of Al Smith’s slightly altered (excellent) version, including an added refrain. You will find this, with his own tune, in Living Hymns, an evangelical hymnal I highly recommend. For information, click on Living Hymns.
Grander than ocean’s story,
Or songs of forest trees;
Purer than breath of morning,
Or evening’s gentle breeze;
Clearer than mountain echoes
Ring out from peaks above,
Sounds forth the glorious heav’nly anthem
Of God’s eternal love.
God’s great love, mighty love!
Love that sent Jesus to die for me,
Love that is greater than any sea;
Love for us all–how can it be,
That God loves me!
Richer than all earth’s treasures,
The wealth my soul receives;
Brighter than royal jewels,
The crown that Jesus gives;
Wondrous the condescension,
And grace beyond degree!
I would be ever, always singing
The love of Christ to me!
Another gospel song for which Mr. Sherwin wrote both words and music is Sound the Battle Cry, speaking of our need to stand firm against the devil (our “foe) and resist his attacks (Eph. 6:10-11; I Pet. 5:8-9).
Sound the battle cry! See, the foe is nigh;
Raise the standard high for the Lord;
Gird your armour on, stand firm every one;
Rest your cause upon His holy Word.
Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner,
Ready, steady, pass the word along;
Onward, forward, shout aloud Hosanna!
Christ is Captain of the mighty throng.
O! Thou God of all, hear us when we call,
Help us one and all by Thy grace;
When the battle’s done, and the vict’ry’s won,
May we wear the crown before Thy face.
(2) Today in 1933 – Ada Whiddington Died
Little is known about Ada Anne Fitzgerald. We know she married Richard Whiddington, and their son Richard became Cavendish Professor of Physics at Cambridge. It is thought that Ada may have been active in the Keswick movement in England. She has left us only one hymn, Not I But Christ. It’s theme reflects the desire of John the Baptist that “He [Christ] must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30).
Not I, but Christ, be honoured, loved, exalted;
Not I, but Christ, be seen be known, be heard;
Not I, but Christ, in every look and action,
Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.
O to be saved from myself, dear Lord,
O to be lost in Thee,
O that it might be no more I,
But Christ, that lives in me.