No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.@John 3:5
illustration
Jesus Counsels Nicodemus
William B. Hole (1846-1917)

William T. Sleeper, 1877.

George C. Stebbins (🔊 pdf nwc). This song was written while Stebbins was helping Dr. George Pentecost in evangelistic meetings in Worcester, Massachusetts.

During those meetings, one of the subjects preached upon was the New Birth. While presenting the truth, enforcing it by referring to various passages of Scripture, Dr. Pentecost quoted our Lord’s words to Nicodemus, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, ye must be born again…It occurred to me that by taking the line Verily, verily, I say unto thee, from the third verse, and putting it with the line, Ye must be born again, and by transferring the word I from the middle of the first line to the beginning, so it would read, I verily, verily, say unto thee, Ye must be born again, those passages would then fall into rhythmical form, and by the use of some repetitions could be made available for a musical setting, and also for a chorus to the hymn, if some suitable verses could be found…I spoke to Reverend…Sleeper, one of the pastors of the city who sometimes wrote hymns, of my impression and asked him if he would write me some verses on the subject. He acted at once on my suggestion and soon after came to me with the hymn…Before the meetings closed a musical setting was made.

George Stebbins, Memoirs and Reminiscences

portrait
William T. Sleeper (1819-1904)

A ruler once came to Jesus by night
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain,
Ye must be born again.

Refrain

Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again,
I verily, verily, say unto thee,
Ye must be born again.

Ye children of men, attend to the Word,
So solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord;
And let not this message to you be in vain,
Ye must be born again.

Refrain

O ye who would enter that glorious rest,
And sing with the ransomed the song of the blest,
The life everlasting if ye would obtain,
Ye must be born again.

Refrain

A dear one in Heaven thy heart yearns to see,
At the beautiful gate may be watching for thee,
Then list to the note of this solemn refrain,
Ye must be born again.

Refrain