Hymn Gems: Simpson’s Songs of the Spirit

comforter on eagles' wings

Today we look at old hymns of spiritual revival and evangelism, especially the passion for missions to fulfill the Great Commission commanded by Jesus.

The following are quotes from the respective sources (links) at the end of this post).

The hymns do effectively reflect the distinctive theology of Simpson and the Alliance: the Spirit-filled deeper life, world evangelization, and the gospel of Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. This is no coincidence, since the songs were often the poetic essence of a poignant writing or an impassioned sermon. Moreover, the early publications of the Alliance and the writing of Simpson’s contemporaries indicate that his songs were held in great favor. Not only were they eagerly received, but they became dear to the hearts of those who sang them and carried them throughout the world.

Songs of the Spirit : hitherto unpublished poems and a few old favorites


Contents listed [117 hymns without music. Foreword: “Since his home-going on October twenty-ninth, many of [A.B. Simpson’s] friends have requested that his poetical writings be collected and published. The committee having in preparation his memoirs found a large number of manuscripts … Mrs. Simpson and her family … put all of them at our disposal. Selections … made from these new hymns which … with some … gems … familiar through … his periodical, ‘The Alliance Weekly,’ … now given to a wider circle. There remain enough … for a second volume …” (signed: The Editor. Nyack-on-the-Hudson)–p. 5-6

“Some … poems … written in Jerusalem, others on the Red Sea, and still others in the Far East during his firs missionary journey; while … ‘Safe Home’ … as he neared harbor after girdling the South American continent. Many of … hymns … under … preparation of his great sermons … sung to his own music from manuscript on Sunday mornings in the Gospel Tabernacle, New York City … rarely failed to send … Christmas greeting or New Year message in song; nor … his beloved school, the Missionary Institute, Nyack … without a Class Song The last hymn … gave us, ‘The Whole Bible to the Whole Wide World,’ was written for the Class of 1919 …”–Foreword [ctd.]

Excerpts describing Simpson’s focus as illustrated on one hymn, “Jesus Only”:

“As far as the subject matter is concerned, the most distinctive of Simpson’s hymns treat the Fourfold Gospel, the deeper Spirit-filled life, divine healing and world missions.

“The Fourfold Gospel is encapsulated effectively in the hymn “Jesus Only.” This hymn is instructive as well as devotional, and was used to teach the new Alliance that Jesus is Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. “Jesus Only” reveals Simpson’s deep personal love for Christ as well. The title may have been derived from the opening statement delivered at his first sermon in the Chestnut Street Church in December, 1873. “In coming among you, I am not ashamed to own this as the aim of ministry and to take these words as the motto and keynote of my future preaching: ‘Jesus only.’ The same hymn was printed in its entirety on the front cover of the special memorial issue of the Alliance Weekly shortly after his death in 1919. “Jesus Only” truly was the motto of A.B. Simpson’s life.

Jesus only is our message,
Jesus all our theme shall be.
We will lift up Jesus ever,
Jesus only will we see.
Jesus only is our Saviour,
all our guilt He bore away.
All our righteousness He gives us,
all our strength from day to day.
Jesus only is our Sanctifier,
cleansing us from self and sin.
And with all His Spirit’s fullness,
filling all our hearts within.
Jesus only is our Healer,
all our sicknesses He bears
and His risen life and fullness,
all His members still may share.
Jesus only is our power,
He the gift of Pentecost.
Jesus, breathe Thy power upon us,
fill us with the Holy Ghost.
And for Jesus we are waiting,
listening for the Advent call;
But ’twill still be Jesus only,
Jesus ever, all in all.
Jesus only, Jesus ever,
Jesus all in all we sing;
Saviour, Sanctifier and Healer,
Glorious Lord and Coming King.
“Jesus Only” was included in the very first Alliance hymnal in 1891 and remains one of the most distinctive songs of the denomination.


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