Posted by: rcottrill | December 15, 2010

Today in 1843 – Albert Simpson Born

Albert Benjamin Simpson was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada. While attending high school in Chatham, Ontario, he put his faith in Christ. In 1864, he began a successful pastoral ministry at Knox Presbyterian Church, in Hamilton, Ontario (my own home town). He was an eloquent preacher and able leader, and during his eight years there, God used him to add 750 new members to the congregation.

Albert Simpson’s keen interest in world missions, as well as his particular views on sanctification and bodily healing, led him to found the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination. And although he had no formal musical training, Pastor Simpson had a keen sense of melody and rhythm, and wrote many hymns. Something of his missionary fervour is seen in the hymn, A Missionary Cry:

A hundred thousand souls a day
Are passing one by one away
In Christless guilt and gloom;
Without one ray of hope or light,
With future dark as endless night,
They’re passing to their doom,
They’re passing to their doom.

Other songs from Simpson’s pen are: Yesterday, Today, Forever, What Will You Do with Jesus? and Step by Step. An unusual song called Himself addresses the danger of focusing on the Lord’s blessings rather than on the One who blesses us:

Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it is His Word;
Once His gift I wanted, now, the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.

All in all forever,
Jesus will I sing;
Everything in Jesus,
And Jesus everything.

(2) Today in 1861 – Anna Olander Born
AGraphic Globenna Helena Olander, the daughter of a clergyman, was a Swedish hymn writer. Early in life she started writing poems and stories. She edited nearly 50 books, and also translated hymns into Swedish from English and German, as well as writing some original songs herself.

The only song of hers that is still in use in English is If I Gained the World. It gives us a meditation on the stirring question of Jesus: “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).

If I gained the world, but lost the Saviour,
Were my life worth living for a day?
Could my yearning heart find rest and comfort
In the things that soon must pass away?
If I gained the world, but lost the Saviour,
Would my gain be worth the lifelong strife?
Are all earthly pleasures worth comparing
For a moment with a Christ-filled life?

O the joy of having all in Jesus!
What a balm the broken heart to heal!
Ne’er a sin so great, but He’ll forgive it,
Nor a sorrow that He does not feel!
If I have but Jesus, only Jesus,
Nothing else in all the world beside—
O then everything is mine in Jesus;
For my needs and more He will provide.

(2) Today in 1961 – James Coats Died
James B. Coats was born in 1901, in Summerland, Mississippi. With his innate musical gift, when only fourteen, he was teaching music classes, and serving as a song leader. A public school teacher most of his life, he was also a staff song writer for the Stamps-Baxter Music Company, and a deacon in his home church for about three decades. Mr. Coats wrote many gospel songs, the best known being Where Could I Go But to the Lord?

Living below in this old sinful world,
Hardly a comfort can afford;
Striving alone to face temptations sore,
Where could I go but to the Lord?

Where could I go, O where could I go;
Seeking a refuge for my soul?
Needing a friend to help me in the end,
Where could I go but to the Lord?

It seems like this one is just about everyone’s karaoke favourite. Many, many versions on YouTube. Most of them are mediocre, as far as the performance is concerned. My greater concern and hope is that those who sing this song truly believe its simple message: that the Lord Jesus Christ is the soul’s only true and trustworthy Refuge. The rendition below? Well…It made me smile. 🙂


  1. Your post on Anna Olander brings back memories! There was a very special 78 rpm record in my aunts’ collection which had come to them from my grandparents. (They died before I was born.) I believe it was made for Mother’s Day of either 1946 or 47 by my Mom for my grandmother. My parents were living in Edmonton; my grandparents were back in Brantford, ON. In those days you could go to the radio station and cut your own disc – for a fee I’m sure. I can recall 4 songs on the 78. I think there were 2 per side. They are: “If I gained the world and lost the Saviour”, “Take the World but Give me Jesus”, “All That Thrills my Soul is Jesus”, and “Nothing Between my Soul and the Saviour”. Thank you for this today!

    • Thanks for the reminiscences! The four songs you mention are all favourites, and I’ve probably sung them as solos at some time or other.

  2. […] d. Oct. 29, 1919) Music: James H. Burke (b. _____, 1858; d. _____, 1901) Links: Wordwise Hymns (Albert Simpson) The Cyber […]

  3. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


%d bloggers like this: