THE CIRCUIT-RIDING PREACHER                                             written in 1958

The Story

“Circuit riders” was a name given to clergy in the earliest years of the United States who were assigned to travel around specific geographic territories to minister to settlers and organize congregations.

In sparsely populated areas of the U.S., it has always been common for clergy in many denominations to serve more than one congregation at a time, a form of church organization sometimes called a “preaching circuit“. A “circuit” was a geographic area that encompassed two or more local churches.

Tim Spencer (1908-1974), once a member of the singing men, Sons of the Pioneers, write this biography about circuit-riding preachers.

I remember learning and singing this song while in children’s choir at Hope Reformed Church in Grand Haven, Michigan. In fact, I was given a verse to sing as a solo for the church… and was the first time I remember singing in front of people. I always enjoyed cowboy stories, movies, and books… and this song really stuck with me.

The Song

Read this hymn, and – today – thank God for the Pastor He has given to you.

The circuit-riding preacher used to ride across the land
with a rifle on his saddle and a Bible in his hand;
he told the prairie people all about the promised land
as he went riding singing down the trail…

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;

Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
The circuit-riding preacher traveled thru the mire and mud,

told about the fiery furnace and of Noah and the flood;
he preached the way to Heaven was by water and the blood,
as he went riding singing down the trail…

There is power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the lamb.

There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.

 

The circuit-riding preacher slept in flee-infested barns;

even then he felt the comfort of the everlasting arms,
that gave him strength to travel on to churches, homes and farms
as he went riding, singing down the trail…
His rifle may be rusted as it hangs upon the wall
and his Bible old and dusty may be never read at all,
but until the resurrection when we hear the trumpet call
his truth will ride along!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!  Glory, glory hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!  His truth is marching on!

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