Posted by: rcottrill | September 8, 2010

Today in 1809 – Lydia Baxter Born

Lydia Odell Baxter and her sister came to Christ with the help of Baptist missionary Eben Tucker. Following their conversion, the two helped found a local church. After Lydia married, she moved to New York City. She was an invalid, and bedridden, most of her adult life, but that didn’t stop her active mind from studying the Word of God and writing. In 1855, she published Gems by the Wayside–a book of devotional poems, and she authored a number of hymns.

In addition, Baxter often hosted meetings of Christian leaders at her home, and was a great blessing to those who gathered there. The one hymn of Lydia Baxter’s that remains in common use is Precious Name (otherwise known as Take the Name of Jesus with You). Written just four years before her death, this hymn identifies the source of her abounding joy. Note particularly the phrase in the refrain that describes Christ as the “hope of earth and joy of heaven.” (Think about it! In the words of a pastoral theology professor I had once, “That’ll preach!”)

Take the name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe,
It will joy and comfort give you;
Take it then, where’er you go.

Precious name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heav’n.
Precious name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heav’n.

At the name of Jesus bowing,
Falling prostrate at His feet,
King of kings in heav’n we’ll crown Him,
When our journey is complete.

(2) Today in 1849 – Lucy Meyer Born
Lucy Jane Rider Meyer was a lifelong educator. She was a high school teacher in Vermont, and taught at a school for freed slaves in North Carolina. Later she served as principal of a Methodist academy, and taught chemistry in a college in Illinois. After marrying Josiah Meyer, a Methodist Episcopal pastor, the two of them opened the Chicago Training School for City and Home Missions. She also founded a periodical, later named the Deaconess Advocate, and formed the Methodist Deaconess Association.

Mrs. Meyer wrote a number of hymns, and two of them are worthy of mention here: He Was Not Willing, and Ho, Everyone That Is Thirsty. Each of the four stanzas of the first song is a stinging rebuke of our complacency and inaction in Christ’s service. If your hymn book does not include it, it is worth tracking down and putting to use. (See the Cyber Hymnal.)

“He was not willing that any should perish”;
Jesus enthroned in the glory above,
Saw our poor fallen world, pitied our sorrows,
Poured out His life for us, wonderful love!
Perishing, perishing! Thronging our pathway,
Hearts break with burdens too heavy to bear:
Jesus would save, but there’s no one to tell them,
No one to lift them from sin and despair.

“He was not willing that any should perish”;
Am I His follower, and can I live
Longer at ease with a soul going downward,
Lost for the lack of the help I might give!
Perishing, perishing! Thou wast not willing;
Master, forgive, and inspire us anew;
Banish our worldliness, help us to ever
Live with eternity’s values in view.

In Ho, Every One That Is Thirsty, Lucy Meyer deals with the theme of soul-winning again, basing her thoughts on Isa. 55:1 and 44:3:

Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price….For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.

Ho! every one that is thirsty in spirit,
Ho! every one that is weary and sad;
Come to the fountain, there’s fullness in Jesus,
All that you’re longing for: come and be glad!

“I will pour water on him that is thirsty,
I will pour floods upon the dry ground;
Open your hearts for the gifts I am bringing;
While ye are seeking Me, I will be found.”

(3) Today in 1921 – Mosie Lister Born
Thomas Mosie Lister has been involved in gospel music for over half a century. In his early years he traveled with a quartet. But as he became more in demand as a song writer, he stopped traveling to devote his time to creating music for others to sing. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1976, and the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1997.Graphic Storm

In 1958 Lister was asked to write a song for legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, and he did so (though there is no evidence she ever sang it). He thought about the struggles of her people with the storms of segregation and rampant racism, and of their need to look to the Lord in faith. With these thoughts in mind he created the inspiring ‘Til the Storm Passes By. It is a song that can encourage any of us, as believers, no matter what kind of storms we are facing in our lives.

In the dark of the midnight
Have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me,
And there’s no hiding place.
‘Mid the crash of the thunder,
Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe ‘til the storm passes by.

Here is Southern Gospel singer, the late Vestal Goodman (1929-2003). With her powerful voice, she originally hoped to train for an operatic career, but the Lord turned her in the direction of a sacred music ministry instead. As a soloist, she became known as the Queen of Gospel Music, but Vestal also sang as a member of the Happy Goodmans. Here she is, with a stirring rendition of the above song.


  1. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

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