Posted by: rcottrill | June 12, 2010

Today in 1798 – John Morrison Died

John Morrison was one of a number of hymn writers in the 18th century who added to the Scottish Psalter paraphrases of other passages of Scripture in addition to the Psalms. One of the best and most beautiful of these, published in 1781, was by Morrison. It is a poetic paraphrase of Hosea 6:1-4, which begins, “Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.”

The prophet is speaking of the repentance of the believing remnant of Israel in the last days, But Morrison’s hymn of contrition is appropriate today for any backslidden child of God who desires to turn again to Him. The Word of God assures us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9). For the full hymn and the tune, check the Cyber Hymnal. Morrison’s hymn says, in part:

Come, let us to the Lord our God
With contrite hearts return;
Our God is gracious, nor will leave
The desolate to mourn.

His voice commands the tempest forth
And stills the stormy wave;
And though His arm be strong to smite,
’Tis also strong to save.

2) Today in 1919 – John Sammis Died
John Sammis was an American business man, and later a Presbyterian pastor and Bible teacher. This faithful servant of God wrote a number of hymns. For example, he gave us the text of the well-known gospel song Trust and Obey. And a less common offering from Pastor Sammis is his 1910 song, He’s a Friend of Mine.

Why should I charge my soul with care?
The wealth of every mine
Belongs to Christ, God’s Son and Heir,
And He’s a Friend of mine.

Yes, He’s a Friend of mine,
And He with me doth all things share;
Since all is Christ’s, and Christ is mine,
Why should I have a care?
For Jesus is a Friend of mine.

The composer of the tune of the above song is Daniel Towner. Less common still is Pastor Sammis’s song We Know Not Yet.

We know not yet what we shall be
Though now the sons of God;
When robed in immortality
We rise above the sod.

We know not what our eyes shall see
Among the starry spheres;
What sounds of heavenly melody
Shall greet our ravished ears.

We know not, though we now receive
The earnest long before
Our foolish hearts cannot conceive
The grace there is in store.

There are things about the heavenly kingdom that we are told in the Word of God. There are many more that we shall learn when the time comes. John Sammis focuses our attention on what we do know in his refrain, which begins, “But we know…” And we do know that we’ll be with Christ for all eternity (Jn. 14:3; I Thess. 4:16-17), and be clothed in glorified, resurrection bodies like His own (Phil. 3:20-21; I Jn. 3:2).


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