Posted by: rcottrill | October 19, 2010

Today in 1902 – William Cushing Died

William Orcutt Cushing was, for a couple of decades, a successful pastor. A kindly man, he once gave a thousand dollars (all he had, and a huge sum in those days) to a blind girl, so she could get an education. But after the death of his wife in 1870 (when he was 47 years old), his health began to fail and he retired from active pastoral ministry.

By the grace of God, a new kind of ministry opened up, leading to the blessing of countless lives Mr. Cushing could never have touched in person. He turned his attention to writing hymns, and during the latter part of the nineteenth century he wrote over 300 of them. Quite a number are still found in our hymnals. Among them:

Follow On (I Would Follow Jesus)
Hiding in Thee
Ring the Bells of Heaven
There’ll Be No Dark Valley
Under His Wings
When He Cometh (
also called Jewels)

Graphic Dark ValleyThere’ll Be No Dark Valley was written mostly, words and music, by Ira Sankey, from an idea supplied by Cushing. Of this song, someone wrote to Mr. Sankey:

I want to thank you in particular for this song, because it presents death to us in such a glorious way. The old Welsh people used to speak and sing of death as something very fearful–a dark river, great waves, and so on. And I remember my dear mother singing all the Welsh hymns referring to death, until I shuddered. But, praise the Lord, I know now that it is different. Your little song has confirmed this belief in me not only, but in many, many more souls.

There is a recording of Ira Sankey available, which he made in his old age, over a century ago. Click here if you would like to hear short clips from various hymns, including There’ll Be No Dark Valley, sung by the man himself. (This is a CD worth owning, at least for historical reasons!)

There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes,
There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes;
There’ll be no dark valley when Jesus comes
To gather His loved ones home.

There’ll be no more sorrow when Jesus comes,
There’ll be no more sorrow when Jesus comes;
But a glorious morrow when Jesus comes
To gather His loved ones home.

There’ll be songs of greeting when Jesus comes,
There’ll be songs of greeting when Jesus comes;
And a joyful meeting when Jesus comes
To gather His loved ones home.

(2) More from Charles Wesley
With his more than 6,000 hymns, Charles Wesley was the preeminent hymn writer of the eighteenth century–and surely among the greatest of all time. His brother John said, in connection with Charles’s hymns (and this can surely be said of the finest of all our hymnody):

That which is of infinitely more moment than the spirit of poetry is the spirit of piety….[But] when poetry thus keeps its place as the handmaid of piety, it shall attain, not a perishable wreath, but a crown that fadeth not away.

Here are a couple of Charles Wesley’s lesser known songs: Lo, God Is Here, and Jesus, Thou Sovereign Lord of All.

Lo! God is here! Let us adore,
And own how dreadful is this place!
Let all within us feel His power,
And silent bow before His face;
Who know His power, His grace who prove,
Serve Him with awe, with reverence love.

Lo! God is here! Him day and night
The united choirs of angels sing;
To Him, enthroned above all height,
Heav’n’s host their noblest praises bring;
Disdain not, Lord, our meaner song,
Who praise Thee with a stammering tongue.

(Note: “Dreadful,” in the first stanza, is a word that is used differently today. Wesley meant it to describe that which fills us with dread, or holy awe.)

Jesus, Thou sovereign Lord of all,
The same through one eternal day,
Attend Thy feeblest followers’ call,
And O instruct us how to pray!
Pour out the supplicating grace,
And stir us up to seek Thy face.

We cannot think a gracious thought,
We cannot feel a good desire,
Till Thou, who call’dst the world from naught,
The power into our hearts inspire;
And then we in the Spirit groan,
And then we give Thee back Thine own.


  1. There’ll be no Dark Valley:

    Pastor Cushing also wrote When He Cometh:

  2. […] Orcutt Cushing was a pastor in the United States (see also here). Ill health after the death of his wife forced him to resign from public ministry. But he went on […]

  3. […] Wordwise Hymns (William Cushing born, died) The Cyber […]


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