Posted by: rcottrill | July 3, 2015

Sweet Peace, the Gift of God’s Love

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Words: Peter Philip Bilhorn (b. July 22, 1865; d. Dec. 13, 1936)
Music: Peter Philip Bilhorn

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Mr. Bilhorn wrote this song at the suggestion of hymn writer Daniel Whittle, who was traveling with him on the train. Early publications credited the words to P. H. Roblin. This was a pen name of Bilhorn’s, formed by rearranging the letters of P. Bilhorn. Irene Durfee was another pen name he sometimes used.

American evangelist and hymn writer Peter Philip Bilhorn had a remarkable and varied career in many respects. With his older brother, he established the Eureka Wagon and Carriage Works, in Chicago. He also had a marvelous singing voice and, in his early years, he entertained in the concert halls and beer gardens in the city. But when he came to Christ, he determined to use his gifts in the service of the Lord.

Bilhorn became a much traveled evangelist, also serving as a song leader in the early ministry of Billy Sunday. At the World’s Christian Endeavour Convention in London’s Crystal Palace, he conducted a choir of 4,000 voices. On the invitation of Queen Victoria, he sang several of his own songs in the chapel at Buckingham Palace.He wrote around two thousand gospel songs, and provided tunes for those written by others. Sweet Peace, the Gift of God’s Love is one for which he provided both words and music.

Seeing the need for a small portable pump organ that could be used in street meetings and on the mission field, Peter Bilhorn designed and built one himself. The small but powerful instrument folded down into a unit about the size of a large suitcase. The Bilhorn Brothers Organ Company grew from this, and they sold a variety of models worldwide. The inventor turned all his profits from their sale back into the Lord’s work.

I’ve told the following story on the Wordwise Hymns link, but I’ll include it here, as an indicator of the nature of the man. Mr. Bilhorn was one of those servants of God that could minister in unusual ways. If others tried the same thing, it might seem forced, or obnoxious, but Peter was just being himself, and people accepted it.

One time, while conducting meetings in Wisconsin, the evangelist retired to his hotel room to sleep, but sleep would not come. Instead, he felt compelled to take his folding organ out into the bitter cold night. Walking down a street, he saw a gleam of light in a basement window. When he knocked, he was admitted to a room where a group of men were gambling. He set up his organ and began to sing Christian songs. As a result of this bold ministry, six men trusted in the Saviour that night.

When we hear the word “peace” today, it’s often in the context international affairs. When a conflict of nations develops, efforts are made to bring peace between warring factions. The Bible certainly talks about that kind of peace, but at the personal level God’s Word focuses on two other kinds.

First, there is the need for peace with God. Whether he knows it or not, the sinner is at enmity with His Creator, and separated from God by sin. But Christ “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20). Through faith in Christ, Christians can say, “When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10).

CH-1) There comes to my heart one sweet strain,
A glad and a joyous refrain,
I sing it again and again,
Sweet peace, the gift of God’s love.

Peace, peace, sweet peace,
Wonderful gift from above,
Oh, wonderful, wonderful peace,
Sweet peace, the gift of God’s love.

CH-2) Through Christ on the cross peace was made,
My debt by His death was all paid,
No other foundation is laid.
For peace, the gift of God’s love.

Through Christ, we have peace with God. But “the gift of God’s love,” as Peter Bilhorn’s song describes it, is not only peace with God, but the peace of God in the heart. A settled confidence, as the believer trusts in the Lord day by day, in every circumstance. We are invited to commit those things that bring us anxious care to Him (Phil. 4:6) and, when we do, we’re assured that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (vs. 7).

CH-3) When Jesus as Lord I had crowned,
My heart with this peace did abound,
In Him the rich blessing I found,
Sweet peace, the gift of God’s love.

CH-4) In Jesus for peace I abide,
And as I keep close to His side,
There’s nothing but peace doth betide.
Sweet peace, the gift of God’s love.

1) What kinds of things can disturb the Christian’s inner peace?

2) What do you do to regain a sense of peace, when such things happen to you?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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