Posted by: rcottrill | November 29, 2010

Today in 1832 – Louisa May Alcott Born

Louisa May Alcott is known today as the author of such stories as the best-selling novel Little Women, but at the age of 13 Miss Alcott also wrote a hymn–the only one she ever produced–about the struggles of the soul to do what is right. The Apostle Paul would certainly agree with her discouragement (cf. Rom. 7:15), though she says nothing of the Bible’s solution, through Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit who indwells each believer (Rom. 8:3-4).

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell,
And very hard I find the task
Of governing it well;
For passion tempts and troubles me,
A wayward will misleads,
And selfishness its shadow casts,
On all my will and deeds.

Dear Father, help me with the love
That castest out my fear!
Teach me to lean on Thee and feel
That thou art very near.
That no temptation is unseen,
No childish grief too small,
Since Thou, with patience infinite,
Dost soothe and comfort all.

Today in 1930 – Joseph Hall Died
Joseph Lincoln Hall wrote sacred oratorios, cantatas and anthems, as well as hundreds of gospel songs. He was also involved in the editing and production of several hymnals. In addition Joseph Hall was an exceptional choral director and song leader. As a publisher of Christian music he was associated with the Hall-Mack Publishing Company, later purchased by the Rodeheaver Company.

There are a couple of gospel songs still found in some books for which Joseph Hall provided the tunes. The one he wrote for Does Jesus Care? by Frank Graeff, he described as his “most inspired” piece of music. The refrain certainly provides a strong testimony and affirmation that the Lord does indeed care for His children.

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress
And the way grows weary and long?

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Saviour cares.

Mr. Hall also supplied the tune for I Belong to the King, by Ida Reed:

I belong to the King; I’m a child of His love,
I shall dwell in His palace so fair,
For He tells of its bliss in yon heaven above,
And His children in splendour shall share.

I belong to the King; I’m a child of His love,
And he never forsaketh His own.
He will call me some day to His palace above;
I shall dwell by His glorified throne.

(3) That Beautiful Name (Data Missing)
We know next to nothing about Jean Perry (1865-1935), the author of the hymn That Beautiful Name. It has a Christmas theme, especially in the opening stanzas. But it also relates the manger to the cross, which I think is important. Christmas is more than a sentimental story about a Babe born in a stable. It involves the incarnation of the Son of God, born to be our Saviour.

Of the author of the words, little is known. But an interesting story centres around the tune written by Mabel Johnston Camp. Apparently, the hymn poem was given to her by the author and she attempted to compose a tune to suit it. Dissatisfied with the result, she tore up the manuscript and dropped it in the waste basket. But her husband came by, some time later, and spotted the scraps. On a whim, he took them up and patiently fitted the pieces back together. Norman Camp believed the music provided a lovely setting for the words, and he convinced his wife to have the song published. Praise the Lord for His wise providence!

I know of a name, a beautiful name,
That angels brought down to earth;
They whispered it low, one night long ago,
To a maiden of lowly birth.

That beautiful name, that beautiful name,
From sin has power to free us!
That beautiful name, that wonderful name,
That matchless name is Jesus!

I know of a name, a beautiful name,
That unto a Babe was given.
The stars glittered bright throughout that glad night,
And angels praised God in heav’n.

The One of that name, my Saviour became,
My Saviour of Calvary.
My sins nailed Him there; my burdens He bare.
He suffered all this for me.


  1. Interesting. Didn’t know that about L M Alcott.

    • She is an unlikely hymnist, but there have been a number of those over the years. Stay tuned for more to come!

  2. […] Wordwise Hymns Discovering the Songs of Christmas The Cyber […]

  3. […] J. Lincoln Hall, composer of the tune, was a well-known and accomplished contributor to the field of sacred […]


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