Posted by: rcottrill | April 10, 2010

Today in 1817 – Caroline Noel Born

The Bible says of the Lord Jesus Christ:

He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil. 2:8-10).

That passage became the basis for a fine hymn called At the Name of Jesus, written by Caroline Maria Noel. Miss Noel, the daughter of a pastor in England, tried her hand at writing poetry during her teens, but abandoned the practice for years afterward. Finally, in the last 25 years of her life, she was struck down and bedridden by a painful and crippling illness.

As has sometimes happened, limitations in one aspect of her life caused her to pursue another. Caroline Noel once again began to exercise her poetic gifts, publishing a collection of verse in 1870 called The Name of Jesus, and other Verses for the Sick and Lonely. Her hymn is from the book. (For a bit more about Noel and this hymn, see the second item under Today in 1845.)

At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess Him King of glory now;
’Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call Him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

In your hearts enthrone Him; there let Him subdue
All that is not holy, all that is not true;
Crown Him as your Captain in temptation’s hour;
Let His will enfold you in its light and power.

In the video clip below, this hymn is sung to the tune Camberwell. To my mind, James Mountain’s tune Wye Valley fits it better, and it’s more singable. (This is the tune used for LIke a River Glorious.) To hear it played, check the Cyber Hymnal.


(2) Today in 1829 – William Booth Born
One day in early May of 1912 a horse drawn carriage drew up at the entrance of the Royal Albert Hall in London. Out stepped an elderly man with flowing white hair and beard. He was wrapped well against the damp spring weather, but even at 83 years of age he walked with an upright military bearing. The man was the guest speaker that day, and when summoned to the podium he proceeded to address his audience for a full hour. Though there was no electronic amplification, it is said the 7,000 assembled heard it all clearly.

He concluded his speech with these passionate words:

While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight–I’ll fight to the very end!

Though no one knew it, that was to be the last time he would speak in public before the Lord called him home. The man was none other than General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. To honour him, those gathered sang a hymn written by Booth himself–one composed years before for an evangelistic campaign. It became the unofficial anthem of the Salvation Army and came to be known as The Founder’s Song. Its title as first published in 1893 was Boundless Salvation, sometimes called O Boundless Salvation. (For a bit more about General Booth and his hymn, see the second item under Today in 1818.)

My sins they are many, their stains are so deep,
And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep;
But useless is weeping; thou great crimson sea,
Thy waters can cleanse me, thy waters can cleanse me,
Thy waters can cleanse me, come, roll over me!

The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,
I hear the loud call of the Mighty to Save;
My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;
I plunge ’neath the waters, I plunge ’neath the waters,
I plunge ’neath the waters they roll over me.

And now, hallelujah! the rest of my days
Shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise
Who opened His bosom to pour out this sea
Of boundless salvation, of boundless salvation,
Of boundless salvation for you and for me.

(3) Today in 1899 – John Sweney Died
John Robson Sweney was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania in 1837. During the American Civil War he led the military band of the Third Delaware Regiment. After the war he was appointed Professor of Music at the Pennsylvania Military Academy. He held that position for almost 30 years, subsequently earning the degree of Doctor of Music.

Before 1871, Sweney wrote secular music for various purposes. But from that date he devoted his talent to the production of sacred music, composing the tunes for nearly 1,000 gospel songs. Here are a few of them. For the ones marked with an asterisk, Mr. Sweney collaborated with Fanny Crosby, who contributed the lyrics.

Beulah Land
Fill Me Now
More About Jesus
*My Saviour First of All
Sunshine in My Soul
*Take the World, But Give Me Jesus
*Tell Me the Story of Jesus
*Unsearchable Riches
*Victory Through Grace
Will There Be Any Stars?

Crosby and Sweney’s Victory Through Grace says:

Conquering now and still to conquer, rideth a King in His might;
Leading the host of all the faithful
Into the midst of the fight;
See them with courage advancing, clad in their brilliant array,
Shouting the name of their Leader, hear them exultingly say:

Not to the strong is the battle,
Not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful
Vict’ry is promised through grace.

Conquering now and still to conquer, Jesus, Thou Ruler of all,
Thrones and their sceptres all shall perish,
Crowns and their splendour shall fall,
Yet shall the armies Thou leadest, faithful and true to the last,
Find in Thy mansions eternal rest, when their warfare is past.


  1. […] set to music by John Sweney, a frequent collaborator with Fanny Crosby (See the third item under Today in 1817.) The result is typical of what were called Sunday School songs, back in the nineteenth century. It […]

  2. […] “The Founder’s Song.” (For more about William Booth and his song, see the second item under Today in 1817.) It is a soul-stirring celebration of God’s great salvation. As the book of Hebrews puts it, […]

  3. […] – William Booth-Clibborn Born William Emmanuel Booth Clibborn was the grandson of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. He served the Lord as an evangelist, but also produced several […]

  4. […] for over a thousand gospel songs. (For more about the man and his music, see the third item under Today in 1817.) Sweney was a frequent collaborator with Fanny Crosby on songs such as: Tell Me the Story of […]

  5. […] cleansing tide of the blood of Christ. In the use of that imagery it resembles William Booth’s Boundless Salvation. The present hymn says in […]

  6. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  7. […] Wordwise Hymns (John Sweney) The Cyber […]

  8. […] Wordwise Hymns (John Sweney) The Cyber […]


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