Scripture Verse

If children, then…heirs of God. Romans 8:17

Introduction

Words: Har­ri­et E. Buell, 1877. The lyr­ics first ap­peared in The North­ern Chris­tian Ad­vo­cate, Feb­ru­a­ry 1, 1877, as a po­em ti­tled The Child of a King. John Sum­ner had been pray­ing for a Gos­pel song to re­place the one that would have been writ­ten by his friend and teach­er Phi­lip Bliss, who had re­cent­ly suf­fered an un­time­ly death. When Sum­ner saw these words, he knew his pray­er had been an­swered.

Music: John B. Sum­ner (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Bu­ell (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?

portrait
John B. Sumner
(1839–1918)

Anecdote

Mr. Pe­ter P. Bil­horn re­lates the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent in con­nec­tion with this hymn, which hap­pened when he was en­gaged in evan­gel­is­tic work among the cow­boys in the West, in 1883.

We had start­ed up the Mis­souri Ri­ver for Bis­marck, and on Sun­day we stopped at a new town, named Blunt, to un­load some freight. A crowd of men and boys came down to the wharf. I took my lit­tle or­gan, went on the wharf-boat, and sang a few songs—among oth­ers the glor­i­ous hymn, ‘I’m a child of a King.’

I thought noth­ing more of the oc­ca­sion un­til long af­te­rward, when I sang the same song in Mr. Moo­dy’s church in Chi­ca­go [Il­li­nois]. Then a man in the back part of the house arose, and said in a trem­bling voice: Two years ago I heard that song at Blunt, Da­ko­ta; I was then an un­saved man, but that song set me to think­ing, and I de­cid­ed to ac­cept Christ, and I am now stu­dy­ing for the min­is­try.’

Sankey, pp. 258–59

Lyrics

My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.

Refrain

I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King.

My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;
But now He is pleading our pardon on high,
That we may be His when He comes by and by.

Refrain

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice, an alien by birth,
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.

Refrain

A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.

Refrain