Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Old Hymnbook

I love old hymnbooks!  I can remember spending hours and hours… sometimes whole afternoons… as a teenager just sitting at the piano and playing old hymns.  If you come visit the Good Old Days Farm, inevitably you will find at least one old hymnbook sitting open on the piano… possibly two or three.

They aren’t all from the same denomination.  Mostly, I pick them up at junk shops. 

I wonder about the people who used to own these hymnbooks.  I imagine them walking into church carrying their Bibles and hymnbooks… standing to sing from it.  Some of my hymnbooks are so old that the original owners surely must be dead by now.  I wonder about their lives… and wonder what they would think if they knew that I still have … and use ….  their hymnbook. 

Take this one, for example.  I found it for $3 in a junkshop in Farmersville, Texas.  (Yes, there really is a Farmersville, Texas!  It’s the next town over from here.)
 Picture 219
I would say this book has seen better days…  But it has a delightful surprise inside!   A glimpse of the soul of the person who owned it…

The pages are in perfect condition… except two pages.  On two pages, the words of the hymn are underlined in purple ink.  These old hymns have a way of speaking to the soul… and certainly these words spoke to somebody’s soul enough that they underlined them in purple.  What was this person going through when they underlined these particular words?

The words speak to my soul.  If you are going through a dark day, maybe they will speak to your soul, too.

Picture 221 

Does Jesus Care?
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see? 
- Frank E. Graeff & J. Lincoln Hall

Picture 222

Near To the Heart of God

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God. 

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God;
Hold us, who wait before Thee,
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God. 
There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God. 
-C.B. McAfee

(I believe these hymns are now in Public Domain. If you know otherwise, please let me know!)


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