In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.@John 14:2
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Phoebe Cary (1824–1871)

Phoe­be Ca­ry, 1852. The song was pop­u­lar­ized in the Moo­dy-San­key evan­gel­ism cam­paigns in Bri­tain. The Con­gre­ga­tion­al Quar­ter­ly for Oc­to­ber 1874 says, It was writ­ten, [Ca­ry] tells us, in the lit­tle back third sto­ry bed­room, one Sab­bath morn­ing in 1852, on her re­turn from church.

Dul­ce Do­mum Ro­bert S. Am­brose, 1876 (🔊 pdf nwc).

A gen­tle­man tra­vel­ing in Chi­na found at Ma­cao a com­pa­ny of gam­blers in a back room on the up­per floor of a ho­tel. At the table near­est him was an Amer­i­can, about twen­ty years old, play­ing with an old man. While the gray-haired man was shuf­fling the cards, the young man, in a care­less way, sang a verse of One sweet­ly sol­emn thought, to a ve­ry pa­the­tic tune.

Several gam­blers looked up in sur­prise on hear­ing the sing­ing. The old man, who was deal­ing the cards, gazed stead­fast­ly at his part­ner in the game, and then threw the pack of cards un­der the ta­ble.

Where did you learn that song? he asked. The young man pre­tend­ed that he did not know what he been sing­ing. Well, no mat­ter, said the old man, I have played my last game, and that’s the end of it. The cards may lie there till dooms­day, and I’ll ne­ver pick them up.

Hav­ing won a hun­dred dol­lars from the young man, he took the mon­ey from his pock­et and, hand­ing it ov­er to the lat­ter, said, Here, Har­ry, is your mo­ney; take it and do good with it; I shall with mine.

The tra­vel­er fol­lowed them down­stairs, and at the door heard the old man still talk­ing about the song which the young man had sung.

Long af­ter­ward a gent­le­man in Bos­ton [Mas­sa­chu­setts] re­ceived a let­ter from the old man, in which he de­clared that he had be­come a hard work­ing Chris­tian and that his young friend al­so had re­nounced gam­bling and kin­dred vic­es.

Sankey, p. 211

One sweetly solemn thought
Comes to me o’er and o’er;
Nearer to my home today am I
Than e’er I’ve been before.

Nearer my Father’s house,
Where many mansions be;
Nearer today, the great white throne,
Nearer the crystal sea.

Nearer the bound of life
Where burdens are laid down;
Nearer to leave the heavy cross,
Nearer to gain the crown.

But lying darkly between,
Winding down through the night,
Is the deep and unknown stream
To be crossed ere we reach the light.

Closer and closer my steps
Come to the dread abysm,
Closer death to my lips
Presses the awful chrism.

Feel as I would my feet,
Are slipping over the brink;
For it may be, I’m nearer home—
Nearer now than I think.

Father, perfect my trust!
Strengthen my power of faith!
Nor let me stand, at last, alone
Upon the shore of death.

Be Thee near when my feet
Are slipping over the brink;
For it may be I’m nearer home,
Nearer now than I think.