Priscilla J. Owens, a Baltimore public school teacher for 49 years, wrote these stirring soul-winning words for a missionary service in the Sunday school of Union Square Methodist Church. Music was not added till some 14 years later by William Kirkpatrick.
All of this hymn is sound but one small verse in the second stanza. It states, “Earth shall keep her jubilee.”
A better rendering for the dispensation we are now in would be, “Now we have salvation free.”
You see, the original second verse comes from the mosaic law where God commanded Israel to “hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land… It shall be a jubilee unto you” (Leviticus 25:10).
This was a picture of Christ’s reign on the Earth as king, still yet future. Using such a reference would be inappropriate for spiritual application for us today. Among other reasons, we are not concerned with Earthly things, but are to set our affections on things Heavenly (Colossians 3:2).
The rest of the hymn is good in announcing that Jesus saves “for there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). This is the heart of the Gospel, that man would be saved (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Try to speak to someone about trusting Jesus and Him alone for salvation from sin and the satisfaction of every need.
Carry this musical message that-
Bear the news to ever land, climb the steeps and cross the waves;
Onward! -Tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Psalms 96:2-3 urges to,
“Sing unto the Lord, bless His name;
Shew forth His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the heathen,
His wonders among all people.