Beyond The Sunset

Virgil Brock

One evening, in the summer of 1936, Horace Rodeheaver invited the faculty of the Rodeheaver School of Music to his home at Rainbow Point, Indiana. Among those attending were lyricist Virgil Brock and his wife, composer Blanch Brock.

As the evening progressed, the sunset silently soaking in the wonder.

Virgil's cousin Horace Burr, who had been blind from birth, suddenly spoke out with excitement, saying that he had never seen such a beautiful sunset. One of the other guests asked how it was possible for him to see events of the sky. Horace's reply was to have a lasting affect: I see through other people's eyes, and I think I often see more - I see beyond the sunset.

Back at home, Virgil was inspired to write a hymn based upon the events of the evening. His wife joined him from the piano. Horace was there also. When he heard the first three verses Horace reminded them of the storm clouds that had been hovering just above that evening's sunset, and suggested that be the theme of a fourth verse. Before the three climbed into their beds that night, Beyond the Sunset was ready for publication.

Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning.
When with our Saviour heaven's begun.
Earth's toiling ended, O glorious dawning
Beyond the sunset when day is done.

Beyond the sunset, no clouds will gather.
No storms will threaten, no fears annoy.
O day of gladness, O day unending.
Beyond the sunset eternal joy.

Beyond the sunset, a hand will guide me,
To God the Father whom I adore.
His glorious presence, His words of welcome,
Will be my portion on that fair shore.

Beyond the sunset, O glad reunion,
With our dear loved ones who've gone before,
In that fair homeland we'll know no parting.
Beyond the sunset forever more.

Blessed Assurance

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) is heralded as one of the world's most prolific and talented hymn composers. Blind from shortly after birth, Fanny nonetheless wrote 8,000 hymns.

One day Fanny overheard her friend and fellow musician Phoebe Knapp playing a new composition on the organ. Phoebe told Fanny the tune was called Assurance. Fanny replied: 'Blessed Assurance! Jesus is mine!' And so began the collaboration that was to become one of Christendom's most beloved hymns. Blessed Assurance was published in 1873.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.


Perfect submission, all is at rest!
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with his goodness, lost in His love.



Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Ira D. Ogden

Ira D. Ogdon (1872-1964) was a public school teacher who had plans for an evangelistic career. She abandoned that dream to care for her ailing father. In 1913, Ogdon wrote Brighten the Corner Where You Are to remind Christians that the pulpit and the mission field were not the only places one might make a difference for the Kingdom of God. Other of her hymns, such as Carry your Cross With a Smile and What Would Jesus Do?, follow the same theme.

The music for Brighten the Corner Where You Are was composed by well-known musician Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932). Gabriel wrote lyrics to more than 20 hymns, including I Stand Amazed In the Presence, and he composed the music for close to 100 songs, including the famous Will the Circle be Unbroken.

Brighten the Corner Where You Are has been sung in Sunday Schools and churches of many denominations, and has been recorded by several artists, including the great American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.


Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.


Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson (1735-1790) was eight years old at the time of his father's death. He was a very bright, headstrong boy who became increasingly more difficult for his mother to handle. When Robert turned 14, she sent him to London for an apprenticeship with a barber. Robert proceeded to get into even more trouble, taking on a life of drinking and gambling.

At 17, Robert and some of his drinking buddies decided to attend an evangelistic meeting, with a plan to make fun of the proceedings. When George Whitfield began to preach, Robert felt as if the sermon was just for him. He did not respond to the altar call that night, but the words of the evangelist would haunt him for the next three years.

On Dec. 10, 1755, at age 20, Robert finally yielded his life to Christ, and very soon thereafter answered a call to the ministry. Three years later, as he was preparing to preach a sermon at the Calvinist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England, Robert wrote Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing to complement his sermon. The music for the hymn was composed by Asahel Nettleton in 1813.

The song has since been included in most protestant hymnals of England and the U.S., has been recorded by several artists, including Jars of Clay and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and is a recurring background theme of the film Love Comes Softly, which is based on a Janet Okey novel.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring

In the 1800s there was great tension between the Catholic and Anglican churches (see: History of Hymns). Crown Him with Many Crowns is a wonderful example of how God takes the troubles of man and turns them around for good (Romans 8:28).

The song was originally penned in 1851 by Matthew Bridges (1800-1894), who once wrote a book condemning Roman Catholic theology, and then later converted to Catholicism. Bridges wrote six stanzas, based upon Revelations 19:12, “...and on His head were many crowns.”

Godfrey Thring (1823-1903) was a devout Anglican clergyman who was concerned that this popular hymn was allowing Catholic theology to be sung by protestant congregations. And so he wrote six new verses.

The 12 stanzas have been mixed and matched down through the years. Interestingly, of the following six verses most commonly appearing in hymnals today, three were written by Bridges (vs 1,2,and 4) and three by Thring (vs 3,5 and 6).

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of heaven: One with the Father known,
One with the Spirit Through Him given From yonder glorious throne.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou hast died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail Throughout eternity.

Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,
Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain,
Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing
Their songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King.

Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11)

Face to Face

Carrie E. Breck and Grant C. Tullar

Many stories resulting in hymns Christians sing tell about a God who is continually working 'behind the scenes' to bring together people, circumstances and blessings. Such is the story of Carrie E. Breck (1855-1934 ) and Grant C. Tullar (1869-1950), and the beautiful song they penned, Face to Face

During a series of busy evangelistic meetings in 1898, several faithful and hungry workers were gathered in a pastor'ss home to grab a snack between sessions. Among the crowd was musician Grant Tuller.

As an almost empty jar of jelly was being passed around, the pastor and his wife, knowing how much Tullar liked the jelly, handed it over to him. Their thankful guest grinned and said 'So, this is all for me, is it?' As the words came out of his mouth, Tullar was inspired to go to the piano. The bantering words about the jelly became the beginning of a beautiful song.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Tullar composed a beautiful melody to accompany the words All for me the Savior suffered, all for me He bled and died.. The pastor encouraged Tullar to sing the hymn during that evenings service, but Tullar knew the song was not quite finished.

The next day, Tullar received a letter from Carrie Beck. A mother of five small children, Beck would write poetry as she sat rocking one or more of her children. She wrote more than 2,000 poems during her lifetime. Beck was tone deaf, but several of her poems were set to music by various musicians. In her letter to Tullar, Beck asked him to compose a tune for a poem she had recently written. The meter and sentiment of the poem fit the melody Tullar had written the night before. God had brought together writer and musician; words and music to become a song that was destined for many a hymnbook; and to bring many a blessing.

Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face, what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ Who died for me?

Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory;
I shall see Him by and by!

Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
But a bless'd day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.


What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened
And the dark things shall be plain.


Face to face, oh, blissful moment!
Face to face, to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ Who loves me so.


“Now we see but a poor reflection, then we shall see face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Fairest Lord Jesus

Silesian Folk Song, Unknown Author

The hymn Fairest Lord Jesus has a somewhat elusive history. It is thought to have originated as early as 1607, possibly written by German Jesuits, and called Schnaster Herr Jesu. It first appeared in print in 1677, in a German Roman Catholic publication, but with author unknown. The first three stanzas were translated into English by an unknown. The fourth stanza was added in English by Lutheran pastor and theologian, Joseph A. Seiss in 1873.

Originally this song was most likely sung to a Gregorian Chant by the Jesuit monks. The music for this hymn that was most popular with 17th Century German peasants was a tune from an ancient Silesian folk song. In 1850, Richard S. Willis, composer of the music for It Came upon a Midnight Clear, arranged the folk song for use in church hymnals.

Several slightly different versions of the beautiful lyrics have appeared over the years. The most common version in English hymnals today is the following:

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul's glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

For the Beauty of the Earth

Folliot S. Pierpoint

England-born Folliot S. Pierpoint (1835-1917) was a graduate of Queens College, Cambridge University. He chose teaching as a profession and traveled from place to place throughout his life, teaching in various schools. He eventually retired from academics to become a writer.

During his 82 years of life, Pierpoint published seven volumes of poetry. Many of his writings spoke of his love for nature. He is most remembered for the hymn For the Beauty of the Earth, first published as The Sacrifice of Praise in 1864.

For the Beauty of the Earth is mostly commonly sung to the tune of Dix, written by German composer and organist Conrad Kocher (1786-1872) in 1838. It was originally sung as a hymn for communion in Anglican services. It has since become a favorite for Thanksgiving services, and for Sunday School Children. It was sung in the 1994 movie version of Little Women. The original version of the hymn had eight stanzas. Below are listed those most commonly still sung.

For the beauty of the earth
For the Glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:


Lord of all, to Thee we raise
this our joyful hymn of grateful praise.

Alternative (original) refrain:
Christ, our God, to Thee we raise
This, our sacrifice of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r
Sun and Moon and stars of light


For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child.
Friends on earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild.


For each perfect gift of Thine
To our race so freely given.
Graces human and divine
Flow'rs of earth and buds of heav'n.


God Bless America

Irving Berlin

The famous composer and lyricist, Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was born Israel Isidore Baline, in Russia, to an Ashkenazi Jewish family. His family immigrated to the United State when Israel was five years old. When he was only eight years old, his father died and Israel began working odd jobs on the street to help the family survive.

Israel inherited some musical talent from his father, who was a cantor, and so eventually he found a job as a singing waiter, in a pub. One day the owner of the pub asked Israel to write a song as an advertisement for the cafe. Israel's song was published with a misprint of the composers name as I. Berlin. Israel liked the change, and so added his nick-name Irving to the misprint.

Despite the fact that he was a self taught pianist, could read very little music, and had no musical training, Irving, with the help of assistants or collaborators, wrote the words and music for more than 3,000 songs, along with multiple Broadway musicals. His songs are recognized around the world and include Annie Get Your Gun, Blue Skies, Always, and White Christmas.

Berlin was an outspoken American patriot. Too old to fight in WWII, he showed his support for the troops by writing several patriotic songs such as This is the Army, and traveling to entertain troops overseas. He originally wrote God Bless America in 1918, but did not publish it. In 1938 he revised the lyrics and the music, and then published it as a prayer that the U.S. would triumph over Hitler, and that there would come an end to the Nazi cruelty towards the Jewish people.

God Bless America has been considered by many as the unofficial national anthem. It is in most church hymnals and has been sung in Hollywood films, at sporting events, and for patriotic celebrations and demonstrations for more than 70 years. Many recording artists have included this beautiful hymn in their repertoire, including Kate Smith (1938) and Celine Dion (2002). And who can forget the memorable gathering of both Democrat and Republican congressmen and senators, following the September 11, 2001 attacks, as they joined their voices to sing as a prayer, God Bless America.

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Thomas Chisolm

Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) had a difficult adult life. His health was so fragile that there were periods of time when he was confined to bed, unable to work. Between bouts of illness he would have to push himself to put in extra hours at various jobs in order to make ends meet.

After coming to Christ at age 27, Thomas found great comfort in the Scriptures, and in the fact that God was faithful to be his strength in time of illness and provide his needs. Lamentations 3:22-23 was one of his favorite scriptures: “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”

While away from home on a missions trip, Thomas often wrote to one of his good friends, William Runyan, a relatively unknown musician. Several poems were exchanged in these letters. Runyan found one of Williams' poems so moving that he decided to compose a musical score to accompany the lyrics. Great is Thy Faithfulness was published in 1923.

For several years ,the hymn got very little recognition, until it was discovered by a Moody Bible Institute professor who loved it so much and requested it sung so often at chapel services, that the song became the unofficial theme song of the college.

It was not until 1945 when George Beverly Shea began to sing Great is Thy Faithfulness at the Billy Graham evangelistic crusades, that the hymn was heard around the world.

Thomas Chisolm died in 1960 at age 94. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 1,200 poems and hymns including O To Be Like Thee and Living for Jesus

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.


Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 89:1)

Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah

William Williams

The author of the hymn was the great Welsh singer and preacher by the name of William Williams. The hymn was sung in the Welsh language and translated into English by Peter Williams, and others.

The Welsh version continues to be popular, and will spontaneously be sung by in large crowds even at rugby games! It has great appeal among the Welsh. It has also been translated into 75 different languages!

The message of the hymn comes from the story of the desperate condition of the Israelites as they went through the wilderness. God provided water from a rock in one dire situation, providing the crystal streaming fountain of life-sustaining and cooling moisture. God also provided the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to guide them through the barren desert. 

The hymn “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah” is an autobiography of William William’s own life. He lived life as a pilgrim, pressing on through the snows of winter, the rains of the spring, and the heat of the fall. Mobs beat him up to the point of death, but in it all he sought to follow God in his travels.

There are a couple of different tunes that are used with the words. The tune by John Hughes was composed in 1907 for the annual Baptist Cymnfa Ganu (singing festival) in Capel Rhondda, Pontypridd, Wales. It was printed on leaflets for the occasion. The tune name is Cwm Rhondda, being named after the principal coal town of Glamorganshire. The same tune is used for “Angels, from the Realms of Glory.”

When D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey went to Wales for their evangelistic crusade, they found this hymn to be the most popular in their meetings.

During the War Between the States, a Baptist minister in the mountains of Virginia found the message of this hymn to still be true. He was exposed to many trials as a Union supporter. One day he believed he needed to flee to the woods to hide, and before leaving told his wife. The next day his wife sent word to him of his Providential escape. Just after he had left the house, soldiers arrived and searched the house and set up gallows in the barn to use for his execution. During the night he was able to escape detection. But the story does not end there. He still had to cross a wide plain between two mountains, on his way to Union lines. This valley had no cover for him to use, and his enemies were on horseback. But in his last day in the mountain, he awoke to find the plain covered with a low layer of clouds, dense enough to conceal him, but not high enough to keep him from seeing the trees on the other side—his goal. He sang, “Let the fiery, cloudy pillar, Lead me all my journey through.” The clouds protected and hid him. As his feet safely reached the next mountain, he was able to sing “Strong Deliver, Strong Deliver, Be Thou still my strength and shield.”

Another story is told of the same War Between the States of a prisoner in Andersonville who managed to escape. He had a compass with him, but it was so dark, he could not see which way to go. To the North he would find freedom, but to the south, be recaptured. He longed for a match, a candle or even some moon light, but there was nothing to be had. His life seemed to hang on the need to know which way to go. To his surprise, in this dark time of need, a little fire-fly came his way. He caught it, and it was able to provide just enough light to see the needle and know what way to go! God sill guides us in miraculous ways!

There are several stories of how this hymn was sung by godly people as they died and were experiencing the ultimate fulfillment! It has been a proven and beloved hymn for many years and for many saints!

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim thru this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand:
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more.
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing waters flow;
Let the fiery, cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey thru:
Strong Deliv’rer, Be Thou still my strength and shield.
Strong Deliv’rer, Be Thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Bear me thru the swelling current,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side:
Songs of praises I will ever give to Thee.
Songs of praises I will ever give to Thee.

He Hideth My Soul

Fanny Crosby

She could not see with her natural eyes, but she could see with her heart. She could not explain what a human face looked like, but she knew the face of God. Blind from six weeks old because of a surgical mishap, her life was different than most, but it was not worse than most. Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) supported herself as a teacher at a blind school, she had dear and close friends around the world, and she wrote and published thousands of beautiful hymns, many that are still sung today. Regarding her plight in life she wrote the following words:

“It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”

For those who have natural sight, but are blind to the things of God, Fanny Crosby's songs bring a sense of His Presence

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.


A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away;
He holdeth me up, and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.


With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
And filled with His fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God
For such a Redeemer as mine!


When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love
I'll shout with the millions on high.


Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by.” (Exodus 33:21,22)