Posted by: rcottrill | September 21, 2010

Today in 1935 – James Gray Died

James Martin Gray was born in New York City in 1851, and he put his faith in Christ as Saviour at the age of 22. In 1879 he became rector of the First Reformed Episcopal Church, in Boston, where he served for 14 years. He taught at the summer sessions of Moody Bible Institute, and in 1904 became dean of the Institute, and later served as its president. He was a man of vision, and the school grew under his able administration. He helped to make it an effective missionary training institution. (My own father was a music major at Moody, in Dr. Gray’s time.) For more about Mr Gray and his songs, see the second item under Today in 1827 and the first under Today in 1893

A conservative theologian, Gray was one of the seven editors of the popular Scofield Reference Bible. He was a fine scholar and an excellent Bible teacher, but his interests moved far beyond mere academics. He promoted the Sunday School, and took an interest in civic affairs and patriot causes. He backed efforts at social betterment, and was a supporter of Prohibition.

James Gray wrote a number of gospel songs, several of which are still in use. Nor Silver Nor Gold, What Did He Do? and Only a Sinner are examples.  The latter song emphasizes that salvation is totally God’s gift, to be received by faith. As Eph. 2:8-9 clearly explains, it cannot be earned by any efforts on our part. It is not our good works, or our church rituals, or our family connections that save us. It is Christ. Through simple faith in Him, our sins are forgiven, and we receive the gift of eternal life (Jn. 3:16; 14:6; Acts 16:30-31; Eph. 1:7).

Naught have I gotten but what I received;
Grace hath bestowed it since I have believed;
Boasting excluded, pride I abase;
I’m only a sinner, saved by grace!

Only a sinner, saved by grace!
Only a sinner, saved by grace!
This is my story, to God be the glory–
I’m only a sinner, saved by grace!

Once I was foolish, and sin ruled my heart,
Causing my footsteps from God to depart;
Jesus hath found me, happy my case;
I now am a sinner, saved by grace!

(2) Remember Me, O Mighty One! (Data Missing)
This little song appears in a number of hymn books, including Ira Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos (#555). I can recall singing it with a male choir, back in the early 1960’s. The second stanza recalls the experience of Peter (Matt. 14:22-33). In the above volume the tune is attributed to Johanna Kinkel (1810-1858), a gifted German composer. It is possible she originated the original German text of the hymn too–though Sankey designates it as Anonymous.

Many great saints in Bible times, as they faced painful or dangerous circumstances, or a crisis situation, called upon the Lord in their extremity to remember them–that is, to give attention to their need, and show them mercy. It would make an interesting Bible study to examine the circumstances of each of the following, and consider what lessons can be learned there. Among those who prayed this prayer are: Samson (Jud. 16:28); Hannah (I Sam. 1:11); Nehemiah (Neh. 13:14, 23, 31); Job (Job 14:13); David (Ps. 25:7); Jeremiah (Jer. 15:15), and, of course, the dying thief on the cross (Lk. 23:42).

When storms around are sweeping,
When lone my watch I’m keeping,
‘Mid fires of evil falling,
‘Mid tempters’ voices calling,
Remember me, O Mighty One!
Remember me, O Mighty One!

When walking on life’s ocean,
Control its raging motion;
When from its dangers shrinking,
When in its dread deeps sinking,
Remember me, O Mighty One!
Remember me, O Mighty One!

When weight of sin oppresses,
When dark despair distresses,
All through the life that’s mortal,
And when I pass death’s portal,
Remember me, O Mighty One!
Remember me, O Mighty One!

Sounds like the quartet in the following clip sang together in years gone by, and have reunited for this occasion. They have a sweet blend singing Remember Me. (And you get a bonus: a verse of the old barbershop number Sweet Adeline!)


  1. […] part of the twentieth century. (For more on Dr. Gray, see the second item under Today in 1827, and Today in 1935.) If you have a singing congregation of reasonable size that can handle the parts (especially in […]

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


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