Jesus Paid it All - This Hymn Was More than a Coincidence

Dan Graves, MSL

Jesus Paid it All - This Hymn Was More than a Coincidence

"How long Pastor's prayer is this morning," thought Elvina Hall.

Sitting in the choir loft, Elvina's mind turned to our need for salvation and the price Jesus paid for it. Words began to form themselves. She had to get them down. But she had no paper. Well, that wasn't quite true...

Scribbling on the flyleaf of her hymnbook, she wrote:

I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Not bad. Not bad at all. After service, she handed the words to her pastor. Did his face crease into a little smile at this evidence of her "naughty" behavior? We may never know.

But we do know that an extraordinary "coincidence" took place that day at the Monument Street Methodist Church of Baltimore. Organist John Grape had recently written a new tune and given it to the pastor. The pastor saw that the tune and the poem fit together extremely well. So he united them. In that way one of the most beloved hymns of the church came into being - Jesus Paid it All.

  1. I hear the Savior say,
    “Thy strength indeed is small;
    Child of weakness, watch and pray,
    Find in Me thine all in all.”
    • Refrain:
      Jesus paid it all,
      All to Him I owe;
      Sin had left a crimson stain,
      He washed it white as snow.
  2. For nothing good have I
    Whereby Thy grace to claim;
    I’ll wash my garments white
    In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
  3. And now complete in Him,
    My robe, His righteousness,
    Close sheltered ’neath His side,
    I am divinely blest.
  4. Lord, now indeed I find
    Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
    Can change the *leper’s spots [*leopard’s]
    And melt the heart of stone.
  5. When from my dying bed
    My ransomed soul shall rise,
    “Jesus died my soul to save,”
    Shall rend the vaulted skies.
  6. And when before the throne
    I stand in Him complete,
    I’ll lay my trophies down,
    All down at Jesus’ feet.

Elvina Hall was 45 at that time. Born on this day, June 4, 1820, she was married first to Richard Hall and then after his death, to a Methodist minister, Thomas Meyers. She died in 1899.

Bibliography:

  1. Butterworth, Hezekiah and Brown, Theron. The Story of the Hymns and Tunes. New York : George H. Doran Co., 1906.
  2. "Elvina M. Hall." www.cyberhymnal.org
  3. Various articles in volumes of hymn stories and on the internet

 

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