Higher Ground Hymn and History.
HYMN HISTORY: Johnson Oatman. Jr. was born near Medford, New Jersey, on April 21, 1856. He became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, when was nineteen years of age. Soon he was licensed to preach and was ordained by his denomination, although he never actually pastored a church. In his early life, he was actively involved in the family’s mercantile business, insurance business, and, upon his father’s death, entered the insurance business. In 1892, he started writing gospel songs, and, from then till his death, in 1922, he wrote approximately 3,000 gospel hymn texts. It is reported that Oatman generally averaged four to five new texts each week, throughout this period of his life, receiving no more than $1.00 for each of his songs. His texts were always in great demand by the leading gospel musicians of his day, such as Kirkpatrick, Excell and Charles Gabriel. Johnson Oatman is also the author of such popular hymn texts as “Count Your Blessings,” and “No Not One!” The composer of the music, Charles Hutchinson Gabriel, was born on August 18, 1856, in Wilton, Iowa. Gabriel is generally considered to be the most popular and influential, gospel song writer during the evangelistic crusade decade, 1910-20. In his association with the Rodeheaver Publishing Company as music editor, Gabriel continued his prolific musical output, until his death on September 15,1932, in Los Angeles, California. It is estimated that Charles Gabriel was involved in the writing of more than 8,000 gospel songs as well as in the editing of numerous compilations and hymnals. In many of his songs he authored both the text and the music. Often Gabriel attributed his texts to his pseudonym, “Charles G. Homer.” Charles Gabriel also supplied the music for the gospel hymn “O That Will Be Glory.” Other well-known gospel favorites written or composed by Charles Gabriel include: “More Like the Master,” “Send the Light,” “My Savior’s Love,” “He I So Precious to Me,” “He lifted Me,” and “O It Is wonderful.” “Higher Ground” was first published, in 1898, in the collection, Songs of Love and Praise, No. 5, compiled by John R. Sweney, Frank M. Davis, and J. Howard Entwisle. In his autobiography, Sixty Years of Gospel Song, Gabriel recalls that he composed this tune after his return to Chicago in September, 1892, and sold it for the grand sum of five dollars. “There is not a heart but has it moments of longing, yearning for something better, nobler, holier than it knows now.” Henry Ward Beecher. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________ I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day; Still praying as I’m onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. My heart has no desire to stay Where doubts arise and fears dismay; Though some may dwell where those abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground. Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. I want to live above the world, Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled; For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground. Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. I want to scale the utmost height And catch a gleam of glory bright; But still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. “There is not a heart but has it moments of longing, yearning for something better, nobler, holier than it knows now.”Henry Ward Beecher Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 The apostle Paul compares himself to the racers and combatants in the Isthmian games, well known by the Corinthians. Those who ran in these games were kept on a strict diet and were always in training. They all had the same goal and that was to obtain the prize. They knew that only one would receive the prize so they were diligent to keep themselves physically fit and conditioned themselves to endure hardships. A true Christian should also seek, ‘the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The Apostle Paul tells Christians to guard their souls by putting on the Armor of God and to combat the fiery darts of Satan. Just as the those who were in training brought their bodies under subjection we must not be ruled by the flesh but be ruled by the spirit. The apostle Paul presses this fact on the Corinthians. He sets before them the danger of yielding to fleshly desires, pampering the body, and its lusts and appetites. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. Romans 6:19 The apostle Paul knew it was not by his own righteousness that he sought the things of God, but it was the righteousness that he obtained through faith in Christ Jesus. He ran the race in the power of His resurrection, and he had fellowship in His suffering by which he would attain the resurrection of the dead. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Philippians 3:10 This simple dependence and earnestness of soul were not mentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or was already made perfect in the Saviour’s likeness it was something that Paul strove for daily. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12 Paul did not boast in the thing he had accomplished, so as not to be content with past trials or present measures of grace. He pressed forth toward the prize. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. Philippians 3:13 Those who run this race, must never stop short of the end, but press forward as fast as he can. We must keep heaven in view, pressing forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, and constant endeavors. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 Eternal life is the gift of God, but it is only in Christ Jesus. There is no other way to make heaven our home. We must recognize the Holiness of God, and acknowledge ourselves as sinners and repent of our sins and receive the righteousness of God. The enemies of the cross of Christ mind nothing but their sensual appetites. Sin is the sinner’s shame, especially when gloried in it. The way of those who mind earthly things, may seem pleasant, but death and hell are at the end of it. If we choose their way, we shall share their fate. The life of a Christian is in heaven, where his Head and his home are, and where he hopes to be shortly. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) Philippians 3:18-19 A true Christian sets his affections upon things above; and where his heart is, there will his conversation be. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philippians 3:20-21 There is a glorious body waiting for the saints of God, in which they will appear at the resurrection. At the resurrection the body will be made glorious; not only raised again to life, but raised in the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. May we be always prepared for the coming of our Lord and Savior; looking to have our vile bodies changed by his Almighty power, and to employ our body and soul as instruments of righteousness in His service. Charles Hutchinson Gabriel – Composer 1856-1932 Born: August 18, 1856, Witon, Iowa. Died: September 15, 1932, Los Angeles, California. Buried: Gabriel’s ashes were interred at the Chapel of the Pines, Los Angeles, California _____________________________________________________________________________________ God be with You till we meet again, Tom & Myra biblestudycharts.com/HH_Higher_Ground.html
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