Posted by: rcottrill | November 28, 2010

Today in 1904 – Jeremiah Rankin Died

Jeremiah Eames Rankin pastored churches in New York,Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, as well as in Washington D.C. In 1889, he became president of Howard University in that city.

Dr. Rankin wrote a number of gospel songs. But only one remains in common use. He based God Be with You Till We Meet Again on the etymology of the common word “goodbye.” The expression is actually a contraction of “God be with ye.” The first recorded use of it as a farewell is found in a letter written in 1573, where it is spelled godbwyes.

Rankin has restored the original thought, giving us a prayer for the Lord’s continuing care of the one we are parting from. It is reminiscent of the words of Paul when he bid farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus: “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace” (Acts 20:32). The hymn was written in 1880, during the years Jeremiah Rankin was pastor of a church in Washington.

God be with you till we meet again;
By His counsels guide, uphold you,
With His sheep securely fold you;
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
‘Neath His wings protecting hide you;
Daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
When life’s perils thick confound you;
Put His arms unfailing round you;
God be with you till we meet again.

(2) Today in 1946 – John Clements Died
John Ralston Clements was born in Ireland. His family came to America in 1870, and he put his faith in Christ at the age of 18 through the preaching of D. L. Moody. He went on to an active ministry for the Lord, serving as president of the Practical Bible Training School in Lestershire, New York, for 17 years. He described himself at one point as “a three-score-and-sixteen-year-old Christian Endeavourer.”

Mr. Clements also wrote more than 5,000 hymns. In 1893 he published Jesus Leads. It is one of many songs that reflect upon the shepherd care of the Lord that the Bible speaks of so often (cf. Ps. 23).

Like a shepherd, tender, true,
Jesus leads, Jesus leads,
Daily finds us pastures new,
Jesus leads, Jesus leads;
If thick mists are o’er the way,
Or the flock ’mid danger feeds,
He will watch them lest they stray,
Jesus leads, Jesus leads.

Six years later, John Clements published what is likely his best known song, No Night There. The hymn is based on the description of the heavenly city given to us in Rev. 21-22. It was gazing at a sunset in California that inspired the author with the theme. He says:

The sky, riot with every hue in the spectrum of colour–so majestic, that I was afraid to move for fear of it disappearing. It actually took my breath away. And then came the thought: Darkness will soon follow this great spectacle. But some day I’ll be in the land where there is no night but eternal day, and with it no pain, no death nor fears. Just one glorious day that will never end, in a place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us….That evening I wrote No Night There.

In the land of fadeless day,
Lies “the city foursquare,”
It shall never pass away,
And there is “no night there.”

God shall “wipe away all tears”
There’s no death, no pain, nor fears;
And they count not time by years,
For there is “no night there.”

All the gates shall never close,
To “the city foursquare,”
There life’s crystal river flows,
And there is “no night there.”

There they need no sunshine bright,
In “that city foursquare,”
For the Lamb is all the light,
And there is “no night there.”


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