Hymns of Inspiration

Hymns of Inspiration – Bramwell

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20. It is well with my soul

I am not sure why this hymn is not in Hymns Old and New but it has a very interesting history and holds a special place in many hearts. 

The writer of the hymn, Horatio Spafford, was born in Troy New York in 1828. 

In 1873 he and his wife and four daughters were due to go on a vacation to Europe but Horatio was unable to travel with his family due to business commitments. He had planned to join them shortly afterwards.  On November 21, 1873 the ship that his family was travelling on was hit midship by a British vessel and sank very quickly .

Horatio’s wife Anna was saved but all the children were lost. He wrote the hymn shortly afterwards and echoes of this tragedy can be heard in lines such as ..

When sorrows like sea billows roll 

Unfortunately, Spafford came under criticism for his views on Universalism and it could be for this reason that his hymn is sometimes excluded from modern hymn books. 

This hymn is a favourite of our own Amy Owen-Smith (The Chaplaincy Secretary, General Organizer and Cheerleader). Amy has to be the most positive person I have ever met. There is never a problem but always a solution with her and I know that so many of us are grateful for all that she does. 

If Amy likes it, that is good enough for me !

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

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One reply on “Hymns of Inspiration – Bramwell”

What a powerful song that is in tune with the world as much today as when it was written. This version especially I have used to pray with many times and used to be played in my car on the long journeys from Lancaster to Champsac and back in school holidays. I have steamed over the Dartford bridge, in all weathers, singing my heart out to this, on too many occasions. Whatever life throws at us, I never forget that when I have a relationship with Jesus ‘it is well with my soul’ CSB x

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