Posted by: rcottrill | November 21, 2010

Today in 1837 – John Yates Born

John Henry Yates was born and died in Batavia, New York. He held a number of jobs over the years. In his early days he was a shoe salesman, as was D. L. Moody in his youth. Then he had a turn at being a newspaper editor, and a hardware store manager. In 1886, he became a Methodist pastor, later joining the Free Will Baptists.

It was in 1891, during his stint as an editor, that John Yates published the gospel song, Faith Is the Victory. It was one of several song texts that the author sent to musician Ira Sankey, so that he could supply tunes for them.

The basic theme of the hymn mentioned comes from I Jn. 5:4, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” That is, the born again Christian has the power available to have victory over the temptations of this evil world, and faith in God is the key to that victorious living.

Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD HYMN. Not all the hymns in our hymnals are of the highest quality, but some are. And what are some of the characteristices to look for in the best of our hymns? Here are five to consider.

(2) Today in 1927 – James Clem Died
American composer James Bowman Overton Clem was the ne­phew of Meth­od­ist Epis­co­pal bi­shop Thom­as Bow­man, and the cousin of Virginia Clem, wife of author Edgar Allen Poe. We know little else about him, other than that he wrote the tune Far and Near for James Thompson’s missionary hymn of the same name. (To read more about this hymn, see the second item under Today in 1790.) The song is based on the words of the Lord Jesus regarding the need of willing workers to serve Him:

The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest. (Matt. 9:37-38)

Far and near the fields are teeming
With the waves of ripened grain;
Far and near their gold is gleaming
O’er the sunny slope and plain.

Lord of harvest, send forth reapers!
Hear us, Lord, to Thee we cry;
Send them now the sheaves to gather
Ere the harvest time pass by.

O thou, whom thy Lord is sending,
Gather now the sheaves of gold;
Heav’nward then at evening wending,
Thou shalt come with joy untold.


  1. […] prayer from 1885. (To read about the composer of the tune, James Clem, see the second item under Today in 1837.) that […]

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


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