THE SWEET BY AND BY                                                               written in 1868

The Story

Sanford Bennett owned a pharmacy in Elkhorn, WI. One of his regular customers was a musician, Joseph Webster, who – like many musicians – was prone to depression. Sanford regularly supplied some pills to Webster, to help him out of his dark moods. But, since they both liked music, Sanford knew helping Webster focus on his work would cure his mood better than medicine. He said, “I had learned his peculiarities so well, that – on meeting him – I could tell if he was in one of his melancholy moods… and I found out I could rouse him from them by giving him a new song or hymn to work on.”

One day when Webster walked in, Sanford asked, “Webster, what’s the matter now?”

Webster answered, “It is no matter; it will all be all better by and by.”

Sanford replied, “The sweet by and by. Wouldn’t that make a good hymn?”

“Maybe”, said Webster.

Sanford went back to his desk; not to fill a prescription, but to write the words of a song. And, in less time than it would have taken to write a prescription, this song was written. Webster liked it, and he asked Sanford for his violin he kept in his store so he could begin writing the music. Both men sang the song together as the other customers listened. Within 2 weeks, children on the streets were singing it… soon after that, it was sung in churches… and is still widely sung today!

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – think a moment or two about Heaven.

There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar;
for the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there.

Refrain:
In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore;
in the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore the melodious songs of the blessed;
and our spirits shall sorrow no more, not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above, we will offer our tribute of praise
for the glorious gift of His love and the blessings that hallow our days.

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