Scripture Verse

The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. Matthew 13:39


Words: Emi­ly S. Oak­ey (1829–1883). Ar­ranged by D. Hay­den Lloyd in The Prize, ed­it­ed by George F. Root (Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: Root & Ca­dy, 1870), num­ber 146.

Music: Phi­lip P. Bliss (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Oak­ey (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Philip P. Bliss (1838–1876)

In one of the tem­per­ance meet­ings con­nect­ed with Mr. Moo­dy’s re­vi­val la­bors in Chi­ca­go [Il­li­nois], a ve­ry in­tel­li­gent re­formed drunk­ard at­trib­ut­ed his re­form to the in­flu­ence of this hymn.

He con­fessed that it was dif­fi­cult to speak about past ex­pe­ri­enc­es es­pe­cial­ly when a man had been a hea­vy drink­er, as he had been for six­teen years. He be­gan six­teen years be­fore by tak­ing his first bot­tle of ale in the back room of a coun­try store, and then, en­ter­ing the ar­my, he had plunged in­to dis­si­pa­tion, from which he thought at first he could free him­self; but as the years went by, he found the ha­bit had be­come so strong that he couldn’t con­trol it, for it con­trolled him.

He had stood at the mouth of the can­non, in front of the fixed ba­yo­net, with the muz­zle of a pis­tol right be­fore him, and yet ne­ver had felt there such heart-sink­ing as he ex­per­ienced when he be­gan to real­ize what a man was, fet­tered by his vice.

He came to this ci­ty some lit­tle time ago and spent most of his days and nights in drink­ing and play­ing cards, some­times drink­ing thir­ty or for­ty drinks a day. While in this con­di­tion one night he came to the Ta­ber­na­cle out of cu­ri­os­ity, to hear what was be­ing said, and to see what was be­ing done.

He sat in the gal­le­ry, and was shield­ed by one of the long wood­en pil­lars that up­held the roof. He saw the crowds en­ter with hap­py fac­es, and ap­par­ent­ly light hearts, and nice clothes, and it hard­ened his heart, for he felt that he could ne­ver be like them. Then he heard Mr. San­key sing the hymn What Shall the Har­vest Be?…And then, said he…it roused me from my stu­por. It brought me to feel what my own con­di­tion was…

During the re­ci­tal of these lines, the speak­er’s voice trem­bled, his whole frame was agi­tat­ed, his words and man­ner were im­pressed on his au­di­tors, ma­ny of whom were moved to tears, and sob­bing was au­di­ble in ma­ny parts of the great hall.

He then want on to say that that night he had list­ened to this hymn, de­scrib­ing his own ex­pe­ri­ence, he found no rest; the words seemed to meet him wher­ev­er he went…They were writ­ten on the walls of the room in the ho­tel where he board­ed. They haunt­ed him wher­ev­er he went. He tried to drown the voice by drink­ing hea­vi­er, but he couldn’t re­move them. There they were wher­ev­er he turned…

He left the Ta­ber­na­cle say­ing to him­self he would ne­ver re­turn; but fi­nal­ly, such was his un­rest, he went in­to the in­qui­ry-room, and talked with Mr. Far­well and Mr. Brew­ster, and af­ter a great strug­gle he gave him­self to Christ. He trust­ed in the sal­va­tion wrought out for him, and though he had lost po­si­tion, fa­mi­ly, by the ac­curs­ed cup, he re­joiced that God had looked down on him and saved him.

Crafts, pp. 37–40


Sowing the seed by the day­light fair,
Sowing the seed by the noon­day glare,
Sowing the seed by the fad­ing light,
Sowing the seed in the so­lemn night:
O what shall the har­vest be?
O what shall the har­vest be?


Sown in the dark­ness or sown in the light,
Sown in our weak­ness or sown in our might,
Gathered in time or eter­ni­ty,
Sure, ah, sure will the har­vest be.

Sowing the seed by the way­side high,
Sowing the seed on the rocks to die.
Sowing the seed where the thorns will spoil,
Sowing the seed in the fer­tile soil:
O what shall the har­vest be?
O what shall the har­vest be?


Sowing the seed with an ach­ing heart,
Sowing the seed while the tear­drops start,
Sowing in hope till the reap­ers come
Gladly to ga­ther the har­vest home.
O what shall the har­vest be?
O what shall the har­vest be?