HE LIFTED ME written in 1905
One of the most prolific composers of gospel songs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932). He was born in a prairie shanty in Iowa, and spent the first 17 years of his life on an Iowa farm. Expressing a keen interest in music as a boy, being basically self-taught, he began teaching singing schools in the surrounding area at age 16 without ever having the benefit of a single formal music lesson. At age 34, he moved to San Francisco, CA, where he was music director of the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church. But, after 2 years there, he settled in Chicago, IL, to work in music publishing. He published many hymn collections.
Charles became the most popular gospel-song composer in the Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns. An Iowa farm boy, he taught himself to play the family’s reed organ. Soon he began composing gospel songs – about 8,000 hymns and gospel songs – but he would have been surprised how far his gospel songs would go.
Verse one refers to God’s grace.
Verse two refers to God’s forgiveness.
Verse three refers to God’s love.
Verse four refers to our lifted position with God.
This hymn is a little awkward to sing; the tune of the verses and chorus don’t really seem to go together… and there are pauses that are either followed or ignored, at the discretion of whoever might be leading the song at the time.
Read this hymn, and – today – begin to look at life from your lifted perspective.
In loving-kindness Jesus came, my soul in mercy to reclaim,
and from the depths of sin and shame through grace He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me, with tender hand He lifted me;
from shades of night to plains of light, Oh, praise His Name, He lifted me!
He called me long before I heard, before my sinful heart was stirred,
but when I took Him at His word, forgiv’n, He lifted me. (Refrain)
His brow was pierced with many a thorn, His hands by cruel nails were torn,
when from my guilt and grief, forlorn, in love He lifted me. (Refrain)
Now on a higher plane I dwell, and with my soul I know ’tis well;
yet how or why, I cannot tell, He should have lifted me. (Refrain)