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.

portrait
William T. Sleeper (1819–1904)

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

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