Scripture Verse

They now desire a better place—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16


Chicago in Flames

Words & Mu­sic: Phi­lip P. Bliss, 1871 (🔊 pdf nwc). De­di­cat­ed to D. L. Moody.

Philip P. Bliss (1838–1876)


[Bliss’] first Sun­day school sing­ing-book was The Charm, which had just got­ten in­to mar­ket when the great Chi­ca­go fire de­stroyed the plates and dimmed its lus­tre, at least in the eyes of the au­thor.

Mr. Bliss, im­me­di­ate­ly af­ter the fire, in com­pa­ny with Mr. Moody, start­ed on a trip to Bos­ton, and oth­er east­ern ci­ties, and held Fire meet­ings, in aid of the suf­fer­ing ones of the strick­en ci­ty. While on this tour he missed the train of cars at Al­ba­ny, and then wrote the Fire Song, Roll On, O Bil­low of Fire.

Long, pp. 48–51


Hark! the alarm, the clang of the bells!
Signal of danger, it rises and swells;
Flashes like lightning illumine the sky,
See the red glare as the flames mount on high.


Roll on, roll on, O billow of fire!
Dash, with thy fury-waves higher and higher;
Ours is a mansion abiding and sure;
Ours is a kingdom eter­nal, secure.

Oh, like a fiend in its towering wrath,
On, and destruction alone points the path;
Mercy, O Hea­ven, the sufferers wail,
Feeble humanity naught can avail.


Thousands are homeless, and quick to their cry,
Heaven-born charity yields a supply;
Upward we glance in our terrible grief,
Give us this day, brings the promised relief.


Treasures have vanished, and riches have flown,
Hopes for the earth-life are blasted and gone;
Courage, O brother yield not to despair:
God is our refuge, His kingdom we share.