Posted by: rcottrill | March 26, 2010

Today in 1862 – He Leadeth Me written

JGraphic Christ as Shepherdoseph Henry Gilmore had an interesting and varied career. For a time, he worked as private secretary to his father (then governor of New Hampshire). In addition, he was editor of the local paper. Gilmore also received theological training, and served as the pastor of several churches.

While still a young man, he was asked to fill in as “pulpit supply” at a church in Philadelphia. He selected Psalm 23, “the Shepherd Psalm,” as his passage, and spoke movingly of  the Lord’s tender care. After the service, he and his wife were entertained at the home of one of the members. With the theme of the psalm still inflaming his heart, the young preacher took a pencil and jotted down a few simple lines of poetry. Passing them on for his wife to see, he promptly forgot about them.

Several years later, Gilmore was called to speak in another church, with the possibility that the congregation might invite him to serve as their pastor.  He says, “Upon entering the chapel, I took up the hymn book, thinking, ‘I wonder what they sing.’ The book opened up at his own poem, set to music. He said later, “That was the first time I knew my hymn had found a place among the songs of the church.” It turned out his wife, admiring the poem so hastily penned, had submitted it to a publisher without his knowledge. As a result, the author had been a blessing to many, without even knowing it!

He leadeth me, O blessèd thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

(2) Today in 1886 – Cleansing for Me published
This hymn was one of many written by Herbert Howard Booth, son of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. In the early 1880’s, he served in France, even writing some of his early hymns in French. Later, he directed ministries of the Salvation Army in England, Canada, and Australia. Around 1902, he made an extensive lecture tour in America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Lord, through the blood of the Lamb that was slain,
Cleansing for me, cleansing for me;
From all the guilt of my sins now I claim
Cleansing from Thee, cleansing from Thee.
Sinful and black though the past may have been,
Many the crushing defeats I have seen,
Yet on Thy promise, O Lord, I now lean,
Cleansing for me, cleansing for me.

From all the sins over which I have wept,
Cleansing for me, cleansing for me;
Far, far away by the blood-current swept,
Cleansing for me, cleansing for me;
Jesus, Thy promise I dare to believe,
And as I come Thou wilt surely receive,
That over sin I may never more grieve,
Cleansing for me, cleansing for me.

Would you like to do more to promote hymn singing in your church? Check out 30 Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing.


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