Posted by: rcottrill | October 7, 2010

Today in 1810 – Henry Alford Born

Henry Alford was an Anglican clergyman, born in London. At the age of 16, he wrote in his Bible: “I do this day, in the presence of God and my own soul, renew my covenant with God, and solemnly determine henceforth to become His, and to do His work, as far as in me lies.” He became an eloquent preacher in Victorian England. In addition, he wrote a scholarly four-volume commentary on the Greek New Testament, translated a number of hymns, and wrote some of his own. Before his death, Alford specified what he wanted on his tombstone. In English translation the Latin inscription reads: “The inn of a traveler on his way to Jerusalem.”

Dean Henry Alford has given us two fine hymns that are still in use: Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand, and Come, Ye Thankful People, Come. The former hymn, a thrilling depiction of the saints triumphant in the heavenly kingdom, was sung at the author’s own funeral.

Ten thousand times ten thousand in sparkling raiment bright,
The armies of the ransomed saints throng up the steeps of light;
’Tis finished, all is finished, their fight with death and sin;
Fling open wide the golden gates, and let the victors in.

Bring near Thy great salvation, Thou Lamb for sinners slain;
Fill up the roll of Thine elect, then take Thy power, and reign;
Appear, Desire of nations, Thine exiles long for home;
Show in the heaven Thy promised sign; Thou Prince and Saviour, come.

The second hymn appears, in the beginning, to be a thanksgiving hymn, a harvest hymn. But Dean Alford saw the prophetic application of the words, based on the Parable of the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43).

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

(2) Today in 1835 – Folliot Pierpont Born
FGraphic Thanksgiving (1)olliot Sandford Pierpont was a distinguished classical scholar in England. He taught for a number of years, and published some poems, but he is known in hymnody for one song only, the hymn of thanksgiving, For the Beauty of the Earth.

In the song he lists many of the blessings for which we should be grateful to God. And of course we need more than an annual Thanksgiving Day for this. Each day of the Christian’s life should be thanksgiving day (I Thess. 5:18).

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.


  1. Thank you for a new perspective on “Come Ye Thankful People, Come”. It is one of my favorites.

    Ever heard of a song called “I Saw Him There”? I tried to find information on it last year but was unsuccessful.

    • Well! I always like a challenge! I checked dozens of resources, but couldn’t find “I Saw Him There.” I can say with certainty (almost) that it’s not a traditional hymn or gospel song. But there is a contemporary religious song that might be what you have in mind. You can check out the lyrics here — but I don’t really know much about it otherwise.

  2. This (“I Saw Him There”) was a song my dad sang back in the early 70’s. I posted the words on my blog ( last year and also have a copy of Dad singing it on tape. At first I thought he may have written it himself, but I no longer think so.

    There is another called “Come With Me” that I have also been unable to find. Maybe one day they will turn up somewhere online.

    • Well, I did another search. Still not successful with “I Saw Him There.” But lists the songs from over 5,000 song books, and they offer about two dozen possibilities for “Come with Me.” You can check them out here. Otherwise, I’m stuck…for the moment. But do let me know if you find something. 🙂

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