If you ever paid attention to authors and composers when we used to sing out of the hymnals, you may remember the name Phillip P. Bliss.
He was the second most famous Christian song writer in history. Had he lived as long as his peers, Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley and Ira Sankey, he might have surpassed them all. But a tragic train wreck snuffed out his life in his 38th year.
He wrote “Almost Persuaded,” “Jesus Loves Even Me” and “Let The Lower Lights Be Burning.” Yet he wrote one that was not a favorite for me. It was inspired during the Civil War by the defense of a supply line by the Union soldiers. The Confederates sent an entire division to seize the Union position. The Union commander got a message from Gen. Sherman at Kennesaw mountain, thirteen miles away. It said, “Hold the fort, for we are coming.”
Bliss wrote his song, which would encourage the saints to remain faithful in their place of duty against Satan’s attacks.
“’Hold the fort, for I am coming,’ Jesus signals still.
Wave the answer back to heaven, “By Thy grace we will.”
V. 2 – “See the might host advancing, Satan leading on.
Mighty men around us falling, Courage almost gone.”
Well, that could describe Christian churches in America today, perhaps even our own.
To Mr. Bliss’ credit, he did write one militant verse in that song:
V. 3 – “See the glorious banner waving! Hear the trumpet blow!
In our Leader’s name advancing over ev’ry foe.”