Scripture Verse

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

Introduction

portrait
Lewis T. Hartsough
1828–1919

Words & Mu­sic: Lew­is T. Hart­sough, 1872 (🔊 pdf nwc). Hart­sough wrote this song at a re­vi­val meet­ing in Ep­worth, Io­wa.

Origin of the Hymn

The words and mu­sic of this beau­ti­ful hymn were first pub­lished in a month­ly, en­ti­tled, Guide to Ho­li­ness, a co­py of which was sent to me in Eng­land. I im­me­di­ate­ly adopt­ed it, and had it pub­lished in Sac­red Songs and So­los.

It proved to be one of the most help­ful of the re­viv­al hymns, and was oft­en used as an in­vi­ta­tion hymn in Eng­land and Am­er­i­ca.…

Shortly af­ter this hymn was writ­ten, while it was be­ing sung by a large con­gre­ga­tion in Wash­ing­ton [DC], a pass­ing merc­hant stopped to lis­ten. It had been twen­ty years since he had crossed the thresh­old of a church. The con­gre­ga­tion were on their feet and sin­ners were pass­ing to the al­tar for pray­er. Stan­za af­ter stan­za of this hymn was sung, with in­creas­ing in­ter­est. The Ho­ly Spi­rit so pressed the Lord’s claims that the mer­chant yield­ed and joined the pen­i­tents.

He was con­vert­ed, and this hymn be­came his favorite. He sang it in his home, on the street, and in his store. It seemed a spe­cial in­spir­a­tion to him.

One morn­ing, about two weeks af­ter his con­ver­sion, as he start­ed for his store, his wife, hav­ing ac­com­pa­nied him to the door to say good-bye, heard him joy­ful­ly be­gin to sing, I am com­ing, Lord, to Thee, as he reached the street. She lis­tened a little while, look­ing af­ter him, and then turned to her room.

A few mo­ments later the door-bell rang. She an­swered it in per­son, on­ly to find that men were bear­ing home her hus­band’s dead bo­dy. He had slipped on the icy pave­ment and was in­stant­ly killed. The mem­o­ry of those last words of song that fell up­on her ears, as he tr­iumph­ant­ly sang, I am com­ing, Lord, to Thee, was to her a last­ing com­fort.

Sankey, pp. 161–62

Lyrics

I hear Thy welcome voice
That calls me, Lord, to Thee,
For cleansing in Thy precious blood
That flowed on Calvary.

Refrain

I am coming Lord!
Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
That flowed on Calvary!

Though coming weak and vile,
Thou dost my strength assure;
Thou dost my vileness fully cleanse,
Till spotless all, and pure.

Refrain

’Tis Jesus calls me on
To perfect faith and love,
To perfect hope and peace and trust,
For earth and Heav’n above.

Refrain

’Tis Jesus who confirms
The blessèd work within,
By adding grace to welcomed grace,
Where reigned the power of sin.

Refrain

And He the witness gives
To loyal hearts and free
That every promise is fulfilled,
If faith but brings the plea.

Refrain

All hail! atoning blood!
All hail! redeeming grace!
All hail! the gift of Christ our Lord,
Our strength and righteousness.

Refrain