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The Gospel Songs of Eliza Edmunds Hewitt

     NOTE:  One great way for Bible-believing homeschool families to provide music in their curriculum is to study the great hymns and gospel songs by which we praise God and edify one another.



By Wayne S. Walker

      Eliza Edmunds Hewitt was born on June 28, 1851, in Philadelphia, PA, the second child, and the first daughter of Capt. James Stratton Hewitt and Zeruiah Stites Edmunds Hewitt. Sometimes her name is given as Eliza Jane Hewitt.  Her cousin, Edgar Page Stites, was also a hymn writer.  Educated in the Philadelphia public schools and graduated from the Girl’s Normal School as a valedictorian, she became a school teacher for a number of years and also served on the staff at the Northern Home for Friendless Children. While teaching school one day, she was trying to correct an incorrigible boy, who struck her across the back with a heavy slate, thus giving her a severe injury.  As a result, she became an invalid for an extended period of her life.

After the injury, Eliza was placed in a heavy cast for six months.  Following her confinement, the doctor let Eliza go for a short walk in nearby Fairmount Park on a warm spring day. Her heart overflowing with joy for her recovery, she returned home and penned one of her first and best-known hymns, “There’s Sunshine In My Soul Today.” Out of this experience she developed a desire to share her feelings with others through writing poetry and became a prolific writer of children’s verses.  Various musicians began setting her words to music. Some of her children’s poems came to the attention of composer John Robson Sweney (1837-1899).  Sweney produced several well-known melodies, such as that used with Fanny Crosby’s “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.” As a result of this initial contact, Sweney and Mrs. Hewitt collaborated on many well-known hymns, including “More About Jesus.”

In her later years, Eliza’s physical condition greatly improved, and she was able to be even more active in her writing. Another well-known Hewitt-Sweney collaboration included in many of our books is “Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?” Also, she provided texts for Kirkpatrick, Bentley DeForest Ackley, Charles Hutchinson Gabriel, Edmund Simon Lorenz, and Homer A. Rodeheaver, occasionally using a pseudonym such as “Lidie H. Edmunds.” Originally a member of the Olivet Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, when she moved to another section of the city she joined the Calvin Presbyterian Church, where she taught the primary class in Sunday school until her death in Philadelphia on Apr. 4, 1920.  Most of Mrs. Hewitt’s best known songs seem to focus on Jesus.

More About Jesus

She wrote about knowing Jesus, as in “More About Jesus.”   The tune (Sweney). was composed by John Robson Sweney (1837-1899).  The song was first published in Glad Hallelujahs co-edited by Sweney in 1887 with William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921). Kirkpatrick also given us many famous melodies, including the one used with Fanny Crosby’s “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It.”   In this song, we are told that the Holy Spirit reveals to us several things about Jesus Christ in the scriptures.

I. According to stanza 1, we learn of His grace
“More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.”
A. Paul commends us to the word of God’s grace which is able to build us up: Acts 20.32
B. The result of this grace is the saving fullness of Christ: Eph. 2.8
C. And God’s grace is manifested through the love of Christ who died for us: 1 Jn. 3.16

II. According to stanza 2, we learn of His holy will
“More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.”
A. Christ came to do God’s will, and we must determine to do His will also: Heb. 10.9-10
B. But how do we know God’s will? The Spirit is our teacher: Jn. 16.13
C. And how do we learn God’s will from the Spirit today? By the word revealed to inspired apostles and prophets: Eph. 3.3-5, 6.17

III. According to stanza 3, we learn about His word
“More about Jesus; in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.”
A. It is through the word that we can come into a right relationship with the Lord and have communion with Him: 1 Pet. 2.1-2
B. It is through the word that we hear His voice: Matt. 17.5
C. And it is through the word that we can make each faithful saying ours by obedience: Heb. 5.8-9

IV. According to stanza 4, we learn about His coming
“More about Jesus; on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom’s sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of Peace.”
A. The word tells us that Jesus is now on His throne in heaven: Acts 2.30-32
B. The word also tells us that His kingdom increases whenever lost souls are saved and translated into it: Col. 1.13
C. But the word also tells us that He shall return from heaven, and so we need to be waiting and preparing for Him: Phil. 3.20-21

CONCL.: The chorus echoes the desire that each of us should have to know more about Jesus through His word.
“More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.”
So the Holy Spirit, as the third member of the Godhead, is important to us because it is through His revelation of the scriptures that we can learn “More About Jesus.”

My Faith Has Found A Resting Place

Miss Hewitt wrote about faith in Jesus, as in “My Faith Has Found A Resting Place.”  The tune (No Other Plea, Landas, or Norse Air) is usually identified as a Norwegian folk melody originally with the words “The Hardy Norseman’s House of Yore.” It has been attributed to Belgian opera composer Andre Ernest Modeste Gretry (1741-1813).  The arrangement for use with the hymn was made by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1920). The song first appeared in Songs of Joy and Gladness, No. 2 published around 1890 or 1891 which Kirkpatrick compiled for McDonald, Gill and Co. of Boston, MA, and Chicago, IL. Apparently it did not appear in any other collections until the Plymouth Brethren’s 1944 Choice Hymns of the Faith. It is not in many of the older denominational hymnbooks that I have in my collection, but it is found in a large number of the newer ones.

A great-nephew of Eliza Edmunds Hewitt contacted me as a result of an internet search on his great aunt in which he came across some of the posts that I have done on her hymns. He told me, “I am in the process of preparing a small biography about her.” He also said, “For me this began as an effort to gather historical information on her. I have found and visited the places that she lived and worshiped for example. I have gained very little factual information other than what I have from my family sources (which are pretty good). But what I did not anticipate was the spiritual journey that I have taken as I began to study her music and hear stories about the impact that her music has had on people….I believe that ‘My Faith Has Found A Resting Place’ is the best statement of faith that exists in hymns.” I concur with his sentiment. It is my opinion that perhaps the song was not found in many older denominational hymnbooks because it is somewhat anti-denominational in nature. However, as people eventually became tired of denominational dogmatism and sought for a better, more solid basis for their religious convictions, the song was seen as an expression of that spirit and was included in the more recent denominational hymnbooks. However, it expresses ideas that we who have been calling for a complete return to Bible ways for years have proclaimed.   A few of the newer books have some alterations which I believe were made by Fred Bock for his Hymns for the Family of God.  To make it a little more palatable to the modern ecumenical spirit, these dchanges seem somewhat to “soften” the direct tone of original, which I think is better and therefore personally prefer to the newer version.  This song emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ as the only basis for our faith.

  1. Stanza 1 says that Jesus lives
    “My faith has found a resting place,

Not in device nor creed;
I trust the ever living One,

His wounds for me shall plead.
(the altered version says, “Not in a man-made creed…

“That He for me will plead”)
A. Our faith can find a resting place in Christ because He offers us rest: Matt. 11.28-30, Heb. 4.3
B. Therefore, our faith must be in Him, not in any device, creed, or other expression of human wisdom: 1 Cor. 2.1-5
C. “His wounds for me shall plead” is simply the poet’s way of saying that it is because Jesus died for our sins He now is able to make intercession for us: Heb. 7.25

II. Stanza 2 says that Jesus saves
“Enough for me that Jesus saves,

This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,

He’ll never cast me out.”
(the altered version says, “He will not cast me out”)
A. Because Jesus saves, He alone can remove all fear and doubt: 2 Tim. 1.7, 1 Jn. 4.18
B. What causes fear and doubt is our sin, and all of us come to Him as sinful souls: Rom. 3.23
C. But He has promised to all who come to Him in simple faith, humble repentance, and submissive obedience that He will never cast them out: Jn. 6.37

III. Stanza 3 says that Jesus leads
“My heart is leaning on the Word,

The written Word of God;
Salvation by my Savior’s name,

Salvation through His blood.”
(the altered version says, “My soul is resting on the word,

The living Word of God;
Salvation in my Savior’s name”)
A. The means by which Jesus leads us is the written word of God; it is true that God’s word is living and powerful, but we must remember that the means by which God chose to reveal that word to us is in writing: Heb. 4.12, 2 Pet. 1.12-15 & 3.1
B. The written word reveals to us that salvation is only in the name of Jesus: Acts 4.12
C. And it reveals to us that salvation is only through His blood: Rom. 5.8-10

IV. Stanza 4 says that Jesus heals
“The great Physician heals the sick,

The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,

For me His life He gave.”
A. The healing of the sick here refers to the spiritual man because the purpose for which Jesus came was to seek and save the lost: Lk. 19.10, 1 Tim. 1.15
B. Therefore, He shed His precious blood for us: Matt. 26.28
C. In other words, He gave His life for us that we might have life in Him: 1 Jn. 3.16

CONCL.: The chorus the points out that we need nothing other than what Jesus provides for us:
“I need no other argument,

I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died

And that He died for me.”
(the altered version reads, “And rose again for me).
With this sentiment, I am surprised that this hymn has not been found in more of our hymnbooks. As I look around at all the religious confusion in the world, I need to remember that in Jesus Christ alone “My Faith Has Found A Resting Place.”

There’s A Pardon Full And Sweet

Miss Hewitt wrote about pardon through Jesus as in “There’s A Pardon Full And Sweet.” The tune was composed by Edwin Othello Excell (1851-1921). The song was first published in his 1894 Triumphant Songs No. 3. The copyright was renewed in 1922 by the Hope Publishing Co. Other well known melodies by Excell include those for “Count Your Blessings,” “In the Shadow of His Wings,” “Jesus Bids Us Shine,” “Let Him In,” and “Since I Have Been Redeemed.”  The song suggests that for those who come to the Lord in faith there will be pardon and welcome.

  1. Stanza 1 refers to a pardon for past sin
    “There’s a pardon full and sweet,

‘Tis for you, ’tis for me;
Blessed rest at Jesus’ feet,

‘Tis for you and me.”
A. Pardon refers to forgiveness of all past sins: Eph. 1.7
B. This pardon is full and sweet because God has promised to forgive any and all sin: Mk. 3.28
C. Those who come to Jesus for this pardon will find rest: Matt. 11.28-30

II. Stanza 2 refers to help for the present time
“There’s a help for every day,

‘Tis for you, ’tis for me;
Joy and blessing by the way, ‘

Tis for you and me.”
A. For those who have been pardoned, Jesus promises to be their helper so that they do not need to fear what man might do to them: Heb. 13.6
B. They can find joy in Christ: Phil. 4.4
C. Indeed, they can have all spiritual blessings in Christ: Eph. 1.3

III. Stanza 3 refers to hope for the future
“There’s a robe of snowy white,

‘Tis for you, ’tis for me;
There’s a home of glory bright,

‘Tis for you and me.”
A. God has promised that those who have been pardoned through Jesus’s blood will wear robes of white: Rev. 7.13-14
B. The Lord is preparing them a home: Jn. 14.1-3
C. When they reach that home, they will dwell in the glory of God: Heb. 2.10

CONCL.: The chorus points out that we must believe and seek the Lord’s salvation.
“All for you, if you believe, If salvation you receive;
There’s a welcome, warm and true, All for you, all for me.”
The Lord extends His invitation for all mankind to come to Him to receive forgiveness of sins. The church makes this invitation known through the preaching of the gospel of Christ. We sing invitation songs to encourage those who are lost to accept the Lord’s invitation by faith and obedience. In all of this the aim is to let a lost and dying world know that “There’s A Pardon Full and Sweet.”

For Christ and the Church

Miss Hewitt wrote about the church established by Jesus, as “For Christ and the Church.”   The tune was composed by WIlliam James Kirkpatrick (1883-1921). The song was first published in 1890 but I have not been able to locate any information as to the origin of publication.  The song mentions some things that each Christian should do for the Lord and for His body.

  1. Stanza 1 tells us to let our voices ring
    “’For Christ and the church’ let our voices ring;
    Let us honor the name of our own blessed King.
    Let us work with a will in the strength of youth,
    And loyally stand for the kingdom of truth.”
    A. The reason that we need to let our voices ring is to honor the name of our King: Jn. 5:23
    B. However, we honor Him not only by our voices but also by working for His cause: Jn. 9:4
    C. Thus, honoring Christ also means standing loyally for His kingdom, which is His church: Matt. 16:18-19
  2. Stanza 2 tells us to make our earnest prayer
    “’For Christ and the church” be our earnest prayer;
    Let us follow His banner, the cross daily bear.
    Let us yield, wholly yield, to the gospel’s power,
    And serve faithfully every day, every hour.”
    A. We should pray for God’s help to bear the cross: Matt. 16:24
    B. We should pray for God’s help to yield wholly to the gospel’s power as servants of obedience unto righteousness: Rom. 6:16-18
    C. We should pray for God’s help to serve Him faithfully every day and hour: Rev. 2:10

III. Stanza 3 tells us to make willing offerings
“’For Christ and the church’ willing offerings make,
Time and talents and gold for the dear Master’s sake;
We will render the best we can bring to Him,
The heart’s wealth of love that will never grow dim.”
A. These offerings include time, talents, and, yes, even gold: 1 Cor. 16:1-2
B. The amount is not really important; the important thing is that we give God the best that we can bring by first giving ourselves: 2 Cor. 8:5, 9:6-7
C. The motivation behind such giving is that we love Him with all our hearts: Matt. 22:37

IV. Stanza 4 tells us to cast aside all hindrances
“’For Christ and the church’ let us cast aside,
By conquering grace, chains of self, fear, and pride;
May our lives be enriched by an aim so grand,
Then happy the call to the Savior’s right hand.”
A. To grow spiritually in Christ, we must lay aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking: 1 Pet. 2:1-2
B. Having put such things away, we must then keep our minds on the grand aim or goal toward which the Lord points us: Phil. 3:12-14
C. By doing this, we meet God’s conditions upon which we can have the hope of being called to the Savior’s right hand and hearing Him say, “Well done”: Matt. 24:21

CONCL.: The chorus reemphasizes the importance of both Christ, our Redeemer, and the church, His bride.
“For Christ, our dear Redeemer,
For Christ, the crucified;
For the church His blood hath purchased,
The church, His holy bride.”
While doing some research on this song, I came across a blog in which comments were made about various hymns that have been sung among churches of Christ. One wrote, “I’ve been wondering, When we sing ‘For Christ and the “Church” let our voices ring,’ is this scriptual? I’m thinking of the word church. What is the new Testament Church? Have I gone off the deep end by micro- analyzing? Who knows.” Someone responded in agreement, saying, “Well, I been thinking about something…that anything that takes our attention away from God is idolatry. And, I’m inclined to agree. So if the church is between us and God, where does that put us? I ain’t downgrading the church, you hear, just wondering if some of our BLIND dedication to the church at Large, (I think thats somewhere in Minnesota, by the way), doesn’t stem back to our Catholic background. You all take it from here.” Here are my thoughts. I certainly agree that anything which comes between us and God is idolatry, and it is quite possible for a person to have an unscriptural view of the church that makes blind devotion to it more important than actually serving God. However, I do NOT see that in the song at all. Rather, the emphasis is actually on Christ as our Redeemer and the church as His bride, the kingdom of truth.  At the same time, it is simply impossible to have a relationship with the Head, who is Christ, apart from being in His body, which is the church. Someone else replied with a different, and I think appropriate, thought, noting, ““For Christ and the Church let our voices ring; Let us honor the name of our own blessed King.’ I really wonder what motive has led to this great song of praise which cries out for unity being omitted from Songs of Faith and Praise and other newer ‘praise’ oriented hymnals.  When sung with enthusiasm and faith, it moves the heart: ‘For Christ, our dear Redeemer! For Christ, the Crucified! For the Church his blood has purchased, the church, his holy bride.’ Maybe it was ruined by bad songleaders or maybe cynical, burned believers don’t want to be reminded that Christ purchased the church, to which all the saved belong. Maybe it’s just a copyright problem. It’s still a shame it’s not in more of the newer hymnals.” Since the song has been in the public domain for many, many years, I would guess that maybe the problem is cynical folks who no longer believe that Christ purchased the church to which all the saved belong. In any event, scriptural teaching emphasizes that true believers will dedicate themselves to living “For Christ and the Church.”

A Blessing In Prayer

     Miss Hewitt wrote about prayer in the name of Jesus, as in “A Blessing In Prayer.” The tune was composed by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921). Some books give a copyright date of 1889, but the song was first published in the 1887 Glad Hallelujahs compiled by Kirkpatrick and John Robson Sweney (although sometimes new songs were added in later editions of such books).   The song suggests several reasons why prayer can be such a blessing.

  1. According to the first stanza, prayer brings us rest to our souls
    “There is rest, sweet rest, at the Master’s feet,

There is favor now at the mercy seat,
For atoning blood has been sprinkled there,

There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.”
A. Jesus invites us to come to Him for rest: Matt. 11.28-30
B. The reason that we can find rest in Christ is because He is our “mercy seat”, antitypical of the covering of the ark of the covenant
which symbolized God’s presence among the people of Israel: Exo. 25.17-22, Lev. 16.1-16
C. Just as the blood of a goat was brought to the Old Testament mercy seat to make atonement for the people, so Jesus’s blood was shed to make atonement for all mankind: Heb. 9.11-14. Thus, in many hymns, the term “mercy seat” is often used, figuratively and poetically, for prayer as the means by which we can approach God through the atoning blood of Christ.

II. According to the second stanza, prayer brings us grace to help in our needs
“There is grace to help in our time of need,

For our Friend above is a friend indeed;
We may cast on Him every grief and care;

There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.”
A. Because of the atoning blood of Christ, we can go through Him as our High Priest to find grace to help in time of need: Heb. 4.14-16
B. Therefore, we can be assured that He will always be there for us as a Friend in time of need: Jn. 15.13-15
C. And as a result of this, we may cast all our burdens and cares on Him: Psa. 55.22, 1 Pet. 5.7

III. According to the third stanza, prayer brings us equanimity in our minds
“When our songs are glad with the joy of life,

When our hearts are sad with its ills and strife,
When the powers of sin would the soul ensnare,

There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.”
A. Sometimes our lives are such that we are filled with songs of joy: Ps. 95.1-7; expressing thanks to God in prayer can increase our gladness
B. Other times our lives are such that we are sad because of ills and strife: Ps. 4.1-8; calling upon God in prayer can comfort us in our trials
C. And at all times we face temptations which would ensnare our souls: Jas. 1.13-15; going to God in prayer can give us strength to resist the evil one

IV. According to the fourth stanza, prayer brings us peace in our hearts
“There is perfect peace though the wild waves roll,

There are gifts of love for the seeking soul,
Till we praise the Lord in His home so fair,

There is always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.”
A. God offers perfect peace to those who have the kind of relationship with Him where they can make their requests known to Him in prayer: Isa. 26.3, Phil. 4.6-7
B. Thus, through prayer we can receive gifts from God which demonstrate His love for us as a Father for His children: Matt. 7.7-12
C. And we can have this access to God in prayer as long as this life remains, while we look forward to that time when we shall praise Him in His home so fair: Rom. 5.1-2, Eph. 2.14-18

CONCL.: The chorus continues to remind us of the wonderful privileges that the child of God has in prayer:
“There’s a blessing in prayer, in believing prayer,

When our Savior’s name to the throne we bear;
Then a Father’s love will receive us there:

There’s always a blessing, a blessing in prayer.”
There should never be a time in our lives when we cannot go to God and talk with our heavenly Father. Hence, may we always remember that no matter what may happen to us in this life, there is always “A Blessing In Prayer.”

Who Will Follow Jesus?

Miss Hewitt wrote about following Jesus as in “Who Will Follow Jesus?” The tune for “Who Will Follow Jesus?” was composed by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921).  The song was copyrighted in 1891, but its first appearance may not have been until 1912 when it was published by the John C. Church Co.  The song suggests several specific situations in which we must make sure that we are following Jesus.

I. Stanza 1 says that we should follow Jesus in the fight for right
“Who will follow Jesus, standing for the right,
Holding up His banner in the thickest fight?
Listening for His orders, ready to obey,
Who will follow Jesus, serving Him today?”
A. Jesus wants us to stand: 1 Cor. 16.13
B. The reason that we need to stand for the right is that we are fighting the good fight of the faith: 1 Tim. 6.12
C. Because He is our commander who has the right to give us our orders, we must be ready to obey Him: Heb. 5.8-9

II. Stanza 2 says that we should follow Jesus even when we are busy in life’s ways
“Who will follow Jesus in life’s busy ways,
Working for the Master, giving Him the praise;
Earnest in His vineyard, honoring His laws,
Faithful to His counsel, watchful for His cause?”
A. We all have various responsibilities in life towards our families, jobs, communities, and other relationships, but we should never use these as excuses not to follow Jesus by being earnest workers in His vineyard: Matt. 20.1-16
B. Those who are earnest workers in His vineyard are those who are being faithful to His cause: Rev. 2.10
C. In order to accomplish this purpose, we must be watchful for His cause: Matt. 26.41

III. Stanza 3 says that we should follow Jesus when we are tempted by the devil
“Who will follow Jesus when the tempter charms,
Fleeing then for safety to the Savior’s arms;
Trusting in His mercy, trusting in His power,
Seeking fresh renewals of His grace each hour.”
A. The tempter, of course, is the devil who entices us to do evil: Matt. 4.3, 2 Cor. 11.3
B. When we face temptations, we can flee to the Savior’s arms because He promises that He will provide a way of escape: 1 Cor. 10.13
C. To do this, we must trust in His mercy and His power to aid us: Heb. 2.16-18

IV. Stanza 4 says that we should follow Jesus in His work of love
“Who will follow Jesus in His work of love,
Leading others to Him, lifting prayers above?
Courage, faithful servant! In His word we see,
On our side forever will this Savior be.”
A. Jesus has a work for His people to do, and we need to follow Him in it: Eph. 2.10
B. This work involves leading others to Him even as we lift our prayers above: 2 Tim. 2.2
C. It will take courage, but as long as we do His work the Lord has promised to be with us: Matt. 18.18-20

CONCL.: The chorus continues to ask the question that forms the theme of the song:
“Who will follow Jesus? Who will make reply,
‘I am on the Lord’s side; Master, here am I’?
Who will follow Jesus? Who will make reply,
‘I am on the Lord’s side; Master, here am I’?”
There are two ways, spiritually, for us to follow. We can either follow the ways of Satan and travel that broad way that leads to everlasting punishment, or we can follow the ways of Christ and travel the narrow way that leads to eternal life. It would seem as if it were a “no brainer,” but so many choose to follow the ways of Satan that the Lord must ask, “Who Will Follow Jesus?”

Stepping in the Light

Miss Hewitt wrote about Jesus as the light, as in “Stepping in the Light.” The tune (Gilmour or Ichnos) was composed by William James Kirkpatrick (1888-1921). The song first appeared in the 1890 Living Hymns for Use in the Sabbath School, Young People’s Meetings, the Church, and Home edited by John Wanamaker and John R. Sweeny.   The song is sometimes dated 1889, but some older books give the copyright date as 1890. Other books give the renewal date as 1917, which would make the original copyright date 1889. Perhaps it was initially copyrighted in 1889 and first published in 1890 which may account for the confusion. The copyright was later assigned to the Hope Publishing Co.  The song helps us to understand practically what walking in the light involves.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that stepping in the light means following the steps of our Savior
“Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Trying to follow our Savior and King;
Shaping our lives by His blessed example,
Happy, how happy, the songs that we bring.”
A. Jesus Christ, in whose steps we are trying to walk, is the Savior: Lk. 2.14
B. This Jesus who is our Savior is also our King: Rev. 17.14
C. As our Savior and King, He left us an example that we should follow His steps and shape our lives by His: 1 Pet. 2.21

  1. Stanza 2 tells us that stepping in the light means turning to Christ in temptation
    “Pressing more closely to Him who is leading,
    When we are tempted to turn from the way;
    Trusting the arm that is strong to defend us,
    Happy, how happy, our praises each day.”
    A. We should strive to press more closely or draw nearer to Him who is our leader: Jas. 4.8
    B. This is especially true when we are tempted to turn from the way: Jas. 1.14-15
    C. Thus, in pressing more closely to Him, we can trust in His arm that is strong to defend us and deliver us from evil: Ps. 59.1-2, Matt. 5.13

III. Stanza 3 tells us that stepping in the light means walking in forbearance
“Walking in footsteps of gentle forbearance,
Footsteps of faithfulness, mercy, and love;
Looking to Him for the grace freely promised,
Happy, how happy, our journey above.”
A. God commands that we develop and exhibit the quality of forbearance in our lives: Eph. 4.2, Col. 3.13
B. Walking in forbearance makes it easier for us to walk in footsteps of faithfulness: Rev. 2.10
C. While walking in forbearance and faithfulness may not always be easy, God has promised grace to help us in time of need if we will but come to Him through our High Priest: Heb. 4.14-16

IV. Stanza 4 tells us that stepping in the light means following Christ all the way to heaven
“Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Upward, still upward we’ll follow our Guide;
When we shall see Him, ‘the King in His beauty,’
Happy, how happy, our place at His side.”
A. The purpose of our guide is to lead us ever upward on the strait and narrow way that leads to eternal life: Matt. 7.13-14
B. At the end of the way, we shall see Him, “the King in His beauty”: Isa. 33.17, 1 Jn. 3.2
C. And we shall know everlasting joy when we take our place at His side and serve Him forever: Rev. 22.1-5

CONCL.: The chorus reminds us how wonderful it is to walk in the light of the Savior.
“How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Stepping in the light, Stepping in the light;
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Led in paths of light.”
Throughout the Bible, sin is characterized as darkness and righteousness is pictured as light. Since God is light and in Him is no darkness, He desires that His people make it their aim as they journey through this world to be “Stepping In The Light.”

Sunshine in My Soul

Miss Hewitt wrote about joy in Jesus, as in “Sunshine in My Soul.” The tune (Sunshine) was composed by John Robson Sweney (1837-1899). The song was published in the 1887 songbook Glad Hallelujahs edited by Sweney and William James Kirkpatrick. The original began each stanza with “There’s sunshine” but many books have changed it to “There is sunshine.”  This song overflows with joy that results from God’s light in our lives.

  1. Stanza 1 says that God causes sunshine in our souls
    “There’s sunshine in my soul today,

More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,

For Jesus is my light.”
A. God created the physical sun that gives light to the earth: Gen. 1.14-19
B. However, the idea of sunshine here is used to represent the warmth of God’s love that can fill the heart: Rom. 5.5
C. The One who brings this light into our lives is Jesus because He is the light of the world: Jn. 8.12

II. Stanza 2 says that God causes music in our souls
“There’s music in my soul today,

A carol to my King,
And Jesus, listening, can hear

The songs I cannot sing.”
A. This music is an expression of the joy and gladness that is in our hearts: Jas. 5.13
B. Jesus listens to and hears such songs because they are being sung unto the Lord: Col. 3.16
C. However, even when our voices may not be able to express what is in our hearts, Jesus can still hear because He knows what is in us: Jn. 2.24-25

III. Stanza 3 says that God causes springtime in our souls
“There’s springtime in my soul today,

For when the Lord is near,
The dove of peace sings in my heart,

The flowers of grace appear.”
A. Springtime, referred to in the Bible as seedtime, is a time of renewal and growth: Gen. 8.22
B. Thus, it is used in the song as a symbol of spiritual renewal and growth with peace and joy; the dove has been associated with peace ever since the time of Noah: Gen. 8.8-12
C. Just as flowers are sources of beauty and enjoyment, so God’s grace is a source of spiritual beauty and enjoyment to our souls: Acts 20.32

IV. Stanza 4 says that God causes gladness in our souls
“There’s gladness in my soul today,

And hope and praise and love,
For blessing which He gives me now,

For joys laid up above.”
A. Whatever true gladness can accompany our lives, God is the ultimate source of it because He gives us hope and praise and love: Ps. 4.7
B. We can be glad for the blessings which He gives us here, not only the material blessings of life but the spiritual blessings in Christ: Eph. 1.3
C. And beyond this, we can be glad for the joys that He has laid up for us above in heaven: Col. 1.5

CONCL.: The chorus continues to express the peace and joy that the light of Christ brings:
“O there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine,

While the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face,

There is sunshine in my soul.”
There is much in this life to bring sadness and sorrow, but as long as I allow Jesus Christ to be in control of my heart, I can truly say that there is “Sunshine in My Soul.”

When We All Get to Heaven

Miss Hewitt wrote about the hope that is available in Jesus, as in “When We All Get to Heaven.”   The tune (Heaven) was composed by Emily Divine (Mrs. J. G.) Wilson (1865-1942).  She and her husband, John G. Wilson, a Methodist preacher were both well-known at Ocean Grove, NJ, where they regularly attended summer assemblies.  Mrs. Hewitt also regularly attended the Methodist camp meetings at Ocean Grove with Mrs. Wilson, and their mutual interest apparently resulted in their collaboration on writing this hymn.  Sometimes Mrs. Wilson is identified as the author.  She may have edited Mrs. Hewitt’s words to fit the music and/or perhaps added the chorus, but this attribution is probably simply an error as she was primarily a musician.    The song first appeared in Pentecostal Praises, compiled at Philadelphia in 1898 by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921) and Henry Lake Gilmour (1836-1920), and published by the Hall-Mack Co.   The song suggests several things that we must do in order to be ready to get to heaven.

  1. In stanza 1 we learn that we must remember that Jesus is preparing for us a place

“Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,

Sing His mercy and His grace.

In the mansions bright and blessed

He’ll prepare for us a place.”

  1. We should sing the love of Jesus as the one who gave Himself for us: Eph. 5:2
  2. We should also sing His mercy and His grace as that by which we are saved: Eph. 2:4-5
  3. The reason for this singing is that He promised His disciples that He was going to the Father’s house to prepare for us as place and that someday He would come again to receive us unto Himself: Jn. 14:1-3

II. In stanza 2 we learn that we must not let the clouds that overspread the sky hinder us

“While we walk the pilgrim pathway,

Clouds will overspread the sky;

But when traveling days are over,

Not a shadow, not a sigh.”

  1. We should remember that we are but pilgrims and strangers on earth: 1 Pet. 2:11
  2. We should also remember that sometimes the sky may be overspread with clouds, which represent the things on earth that may cause suffering: 1 Pet. 3:12-13
  3. However, even though we may suffer in this life, when traveling days are over, there will be neither a shadow nor a sigh because our afflictions are light and temporary in comparison to the eternal weight of glory: 2 Cor. 4:16-18

III. In stanza 3 we learn that we must be faithful in our lives and service before the Lord

“Let us then be true and faithful,

Trusting, serving every day;

Just one glimpse of Him in glory

Will the toils of life repay.”

  1. Only those who are faithful until death are told that they will receive the crown of life that the Lord has for those who love Him: Rev. 2:10
  2. And those who are faithful will be trusting and serving every day: Lk. 9:23
  3. The motivation that helps to keep us faithful is the hope for that time when all our toils will be repaid by even just one glimpse of Him in glory: 1 Jn. 3:1-3

IV. In stanza 4 we learn that we must keep going on toward the goal

“Onward to the prize before us!

Soon His beauty we’ll behold;

Soon the pearly gates will open;

We shall tread the streets of gold.”

  1. While we have many spiritual blessings on this earth, the reward of heaven is not attained in this life, so we must press on to receive it: Phil. 3:13-14
  2. Thus we can have the expectation that soon His beauty we’ll behold because at death we depart to be with Christ: Phil. 1:23
  3. And then after judgment we can enter through the pearly gates to walk the street of gold: Rev. 21:21

CONCL.:  The chorus expresses the joy that we shall experienced when we do attain this goal.

“When we all get to heaven,

What a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus,

We’ll sing and shout the victory!”

Through the years, objections to this song have been heard from some who say that not all who sing the song will actually get to heaven.  In fact, one editor even changed it to read, “When the saved get to heaven.”  However, certainly all who are faithful will achieve that goal, so with this understanding there should be no problem in our singing, “When We All Get To Heaven.”

Give Me Thy Heart

Finally, Miss Hewitt wrote about the invitation of Jesus, as in “Give Me Thy Heart.” The tune (Zeruiah or Bourne) for “Give Me Thy Heart” was composed, under the penname of Anna (Annie) F. Bourne by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921). The song was copyrighted in 1898 by Kirkpatrick and first published in the 1900 Pentecostal Praises by Hall-Mack of Philadelphia, PA.   This is one of the few gospel songs following a “trinitarian” formula, and it tells us what each person in the Godhead might say to encourage us to come for salvation.

  1. Stanza 1 expresses the call from the Father
    “’Give Me thy heart,’ says the Father above:
    No gift so precious to Him as our love.
    Softly He whispers wherever thou art,
    ‘Gratefully trust me, and give Me thy heart.’”
    A. The Father is Jehovah God who dwells in heaven: Matt. 6:9
    B. No gift is so precious to Him as our love, so He wants us to love Him with all our heart: Matt. 22:37
    C. When we do that, it shows that we gratefully trust Him: Ps. 37:3-5
  2. Stanza 2 expresses the call from the Savior
    “’Give Me thy heart,’ says the Savior of men,
    Calling in mercy again and again;
    ‘Turn now from sin, and from evil depart.
    Have I not died for thee? Give Me thy heart.’”
    A. The Savior of men is Jesus Christ, who came to save His people from their sin: Matt. 1:21
    B. He calls us that we might receive the mercy of God for our salvation: Tit. 3:5
    C. To make this possible, He died for us: Rom. 5:8

III. Stanza 3 expresses the call from the Spirit
“’Give Me thy heart,’ says the Spirit divine;
‘All that thou hast, to my keeping resign.
Grace more abounding is mine to impart;
Make full surrender and give Me thy heart.’”
A. The Spirit divine is the Comforter who came to make known all truth through the apostles: Jn. 16:7-13
B. He wants us to resign all that we have to His keeping, not laying up treasures on earth but in heaven, knowing that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also: Matt. 6:19-21
C. We make this full surrender to Him by obeying the word which is His sword to accomplish His work: Eph. 6:17

CONCL.: The chorus repeats the basic thought of each stanza, that the Lord wants us to dedicate our lives unto Him and be separate from this world.
“’Give Me thy heart, Give me thy heart;’
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art.
From this dark world, He would draw thee apart,
Speaking so tenderly, ‘Give Me thy heart.’”
This song is useful to help faithful Christians understand their need to love the Lord with all their heart, but it is often used as an invitation hymn to remind all people that if they are lost in sin or have wandered away from the Lord, our gracious God continues to call them as long as they have life and breath, saying, “Give Me Thy Heart.”


Our books have had three other songs by Miss Hewitt, which are “Will There Be Any Stars?” beginning,  “I Am Thinking Today,” with music by John R. Sweney, and the lesser known “Seek Ye First the Kingdom” also with music by Sweney, and “Somebody Else Needs a Blessing” with music by Bentley DeForest Ackley.  Eliza Edmunds Hewitt has greatly enriched our ability to teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with these wonderful contributions to our repertoire of gospel songs.

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