While sorting through some of my father’s old papers, I came across this poem. At first, I thought it was a poem that he wrote. However, I discovered it to be lyrics of an old song, with slight adaptation. In either case, the sentiments are wonderful.

This Book unfolds Jehovah’s mind,
This Voice salutes in accents kind,
This Fountain has its source on high*,
This Friend will all your need supply.
This Mine affords us boundless wealth,
This Good Physician gives us health,
This Sun renews and warms the soul,
This Sword both wounds and makes us whole.
This Letter shows our sins forgiven,
This Guide conducts us safe to heaven,
This Charter has been sealed with blood;
This Volume is the Word of God.

*Dad transposed the 3rd & 4th lines of verse 1 in the original (first “Friend”, then “Fountain”). He also reworded the line about the Fountain. The original text was, “This Fountain sends forth streams of joy.”

According www.Hymnary.org, the original lyrics appeared in two hymnals — Crowning Joy and The Mission Band Hymnal.

I couldn’t find any information about Crowning Joy, but I did find a digital copy of The Mission Band Hymnal on Archive.org. This hymnal was published by Emilie S Coles in 1878, and printed in 1879. The song was #20 in the hymnal. Hymnary.org also said that either the lyrics or the tune were attributed to J B Coats (who wrote “Where Could I Go?”). However, he was born in 1901, so he couldn’t have written the lyrics. He may have written a tune for it, but if he did, I couldn’t find it anywhere.

The Mission Band Hymnal gave two metric notations for the song — “Gratitude” and “LM” (Long Meter). Two hymnals listed “Gratitude” as the tune for the hymn “Purer in Heart.” It will work with these lyrics, but only by stretching the 4th syllable of each line.

A better fit was “LM” (Long Meter or — that is, lines or stanzas consisting of 8 syllables each. There are quite a few familiar songs that use this meter, a number of which work well with these lyrics. They include:

  • “Doxology (‘Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow’)”
  • “O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee”
  • “Sun of My Soul”
  • “Awake My Tongue, Thy Tribute Bring”
  • “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
  • “Father of Mercies” — the fourth line of each stanza must be repeated
  • “Just as I Am” — the fourth verse of each stanza is a bit wobbly