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-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Philip P. Bliss

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?