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Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Hymn History | 0 comments

“Softly and Tenderly”

Softly and Tenderly


“Softly and Tenderly” is one of the best known and most used invitational hymns.  It was written in 1880 by Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909).  Thompson was born to successful businessman and politician, Josiah Thompson, and his wife, Sarah, on Nov. 7, 1847, in East Liverpool, Ohio.

Will Thompson

Will Thompson

Will showed a talent for music and songwriting at an early age and had written several secular songs by the time he graduated from high school.  He graduated from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, in 1873, with a degree in business.  He then studied music at the New England Conservatory of Music and further studied music abroad in Leipzig, Germany.  He went on to start his own very successful business, Will L. Thompson & Company, which started as a music publishing company and eventually expanded to be a source for musical instruments and supplies.  Mr. Thompson was a devout Christian, and while attending one of D. L. Moody’s evangelistic meetings, he dedicated himself more to composing and promoting Christian music.  One of these compositions was a beautiful song with a great message that would become D. L. Moody’s invitation song at his meetings.  The song is entitled “Softly and Tenderly.”

Verse 1:

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is calling,

Calling for you and for me;

See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,

Watching for you and for me.


Come home, come home,

Ye who are weary, come home;

Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,

Calling, “O sinner, come home!”

Verse 2:

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,

Pleading for you and for me?

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,

Mercies for you and for me?

Verse 3:

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,

Passing from you and from me;

Shadows are gathering, the deathbeds are coming,

Coming for you and for me.

Verse 4:

O for the wonderful love He has promised,

Promised for you and for me!

Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon

Pardon for you and for me.

Mr. Thompson visited D. L. Moody on his deathbed at his home in Northfield, Massachusetts, in 1899.  After Thompson was at first refused admittance by the doctor, Mr. Moody overheard them and asked for Mr. Thompson to be let in.  Moody then took him by the hand and said, “Will, I would rather have written Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.”  What powerful praise from a great man of God about a powerful song that invites people to come home to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Isaac Rochester

Isaac Rochester is the instructor for guitar at

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Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Hymn History, Recommended Articles | 1 comment

“Lead Me to Calvary”


Jennie E. Hussey


Ever since the first time I heard this song, I wanted to know about the author and her life.  Jennie Evelyn Hussey wrote the lyrics with a desire for us to know Christ and His love for us.  I believe that she wanted us to dwell on what Christ has done for us and not on our own circumstances.

Jennie was born on February 8, 1874, in Henniker, New Hampshire.  She was known for her sweet and cheerful spirit, and spent much of her life taking care of her invalid sister.  Whenever weary, she would turn in the Scriptures to the story of Calvary.  Jennie would eventually become disabled herself with crippling arthritis.  She lived by these words that she penned:

“May I be willing, Lord, to bear
Daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share,
Thou hast borne all for me.”

Jennie spent her later years in the Home for the Aged in Concord, New Hamphire, where she passed away in 1958. She once stated that before she died, she wanted to have told everyone:  “I love Jesus.”  This hymn along with an estimated one hundred fifty others have certainly fulfilled her desire and stand as a everlasting testimony of her love for Jesus.


“Lead Me to Calvary”

King of my life, I crown Thee now,

Thine shall the glory be;

Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,

Lead me to Calvary.

Lest I forget Gethsemane,

Lest I forget Thine agony;

Lest I forget Thy love for me,

Lead me to Calvary.

Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid,

Tenderly mourned and wept;

Angels in robes of light arrayed

Guarded Thee whilst Thou slept.

Let me like Mary, through the gloom,

Come with a gift to Thee;

Show to me now the empty tomb,

Lead me to Calvary.

May I be willing, Lord, to bear

Daily my cross for Thee;

Even Thy cup of grief to share,

Thou hast borne all for me.

Isaac Rochester

Isaac is the instructor for guitar at

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