I WILL SING OF MY REDEEMER written in 1876
How can a believer keep his/her faith bottled up within him/herself?
Throughout history, various rulers have tried to keep Christians from sharing the gospel… with little success. Ancient Rome would have tolerated Christians if they had simply kept their faith to themselves, but they did not… they could not! As the apostles told the authorities in Jerusalem, “We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
Philip Bliss (1838-1876), the author if this hymn, was a well-known teacher, evangelist, and soloist… he wrote many hymns and composed music for some… and was the song leader for evangelist Major Daniel W. Whittle. Whittle, who had been taken prisoner during the Civil War, was converted to Christ while he was imprisoned by reading the New Testament. A few years after he got out of the army, he became an evangelist, and he asked Philip Bliss to be his song leader. Only 3 years later, though, Philip Bliss and his wife died in a train accident.
It was on December 29, 1876; Philip and his wife, Lucy, boarded a train back to Pennsylvania from an evangelistic crusade. The winter snow and ice made for dangerous travel. As their train was crossing over a river in Ashtabula, Ohio, the bridge suddenly gave way and all the railcars fell into the freezing waters below. Philip escaped through a window, only to find that Lucy had somehow been left behind in the burning wreckage. Although he was advised against it, Philip headed back into the fire, saying: “If I cannot save her, I will perish with her.” The young couple did not survive.
Of the 160 passengers, only 68 survived the disaster which took the lives of Lucy and Philip Bliss.
This hymn text was found in Philip’s suitcase.
James McGranahan, who succeeded Philip as Whittle’s song leader, composed the music to this hymn. In 1877, George Cole Stebbins made a recording of I Will Sing of My Redeemer – making it one of the first songs ever to be recorded on Thomas Edison’s new invention, the phonograph.
This hymn has a unique arrangement… changing tempo and timing from verses to chorus.
Read this hymn, and – today – use it as an opportunity to sing of your Redeemer!
I will sing of my Redeemer, and His wondrous love to me;
on the cruel cross He suffered, from the curse to set me free.
Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer, with His blood, He purchased me.
On the cross, He sealed my pardon, paid the debt, and made me free.
I will tell the wondrous story, how my lost estate to save,
in His boundless love and mercy, He the ransom freely gave. (Refrain)
I will praise my dear Redeemer, His triumphant power I’ll tell;
how the victory He giveth over sin, and death, and hell. (Refrain)
I will sing of my Redeemer, and His heav’nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me, Son of God with Him to be. (Refrain)