I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that…I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.@Acts 20:25-27
illustration
Lyrics of Home-Land, 1881

Eugene J. Hall, Lyrics of Home-Land (Chicago, Illinois: S. C. Griggs, 1881), pages 26-28. The song was dedicated To Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Hitchcock, Chicago, Ill.

Saratoga Edwin O. Excell, The Gospel in Song (Chicago, Illinois: E. O. Excell, 1885), number 298) (🔊 pdf nwc).

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Edwin O. Excell (1851-1921)

They say I am old and forgetful,
My style is as slow as a snail;
My doctrines are all out of fashion,
My mind is beginning to fail;
They want a more flowery preacher,
More full of forgiveness and love,
To talk to them less about brimstone,
And more of the mansions above.

For fifty long years I’ve been preaching,
I’ve studied my old Bible well;
I always have felt it my duty
To show them the horrors of hell;
Perhaps I’ve been wrong in my notions,
I’ve followed the Scriptures, I know,
And never have knowingly broken
The vows that I took long ago.

I’ve seen many trials and changes,
I’ve fought a good fight against wrong;
The gals have grown up to be women,
The boys have got manly and strong;
The honest old deacons have vanished,
Their pure lives have come to a close;
They sleep in the silent old churchyard,
Where soon I shall lie in repose.

My flock has been always complaining,
The church was not rightly arranged,
They voted to have a high steeple,
The gallery had to be changed;
They built up a fanciful vestry,
They bought the best organ in town;
They chopped the old pews into kindling,
And tumbled the tall pulpit down.

And now, to my pain and my sorrow,
They say, the old parson must go;
I know I am childish and feeble,
My steps are unsteady and slow.
They want a more spirited speaker,
I’m told the new deacons have said,
To dance round the platform and holler,
And wake up the souls that are dead.

I’ll try to believe that what happens
Will always come out for the best;
They tell me my labor is ended,
’Tis time I was taking a rest;
I’ve little of comfort or riches,
I’m certain my conscience is clear;
And when in the churchyard I’m sleeping,
Perhaps they may wish I was here.