Julia Ward Howe’s lyrics to the traditional American melody “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” are fraught with error. Now before you get upset about changing an age-old song, you must know she indeed changed the words to this tune that was called “John Brown’s Body” herself.
Howes lyrics spiritualizing prophetic references after prophetic reference reflect the political events of her time, in Northern America during the American Civil War.
What’s more, the chorus repeats only two words that serve very little to teach or admonish. We have reconstructed the lyrics to reflect how God dealt differently with man at different times through history, and it would be wrong to take verses out of context to describe current events and wars.
The tune to this song was composed by William Steffe (1830-1890), who lived in Philadelphia writing camp-meeting songs. There would be a lot of Scripture to direct to in this reconstructed version, so just sing along and study out the verse.
1. Mine eyes have read the glory of when God created Earth;
And then by one sin entered, and it entered us by birth;
So God chose one man to give his seed the promises of worth;
His faith in things not seen! God gave promises to Abram;
God gave promises to Abram; God gave promises to Abram;
His faith in things not seen!
2. I’ve read about the chosen tribes who walked across the sea;
God said, “If you will obey my laws, you will be bless’d by me,”
And so when they broke the law of God, for sins they paid a fee;
Their faith in sacrifice! God gave covenants to Moses;
God gave covenants to Moses; God gave covenants to Moses;
Their faith in sacrifice!
3. Then to His own came Jesus to confirm the promises,
Preached “A kingdom come, sell all you have, repent of all your sins;
And when I return I’ll judge the Earth, keep watch and lift your chins!”
Their faith would come with pow’r. God have to Pentecost to Peter;
God gave Pentecost to Peter; God gave Pentecost to Peter;
Their faith was in God’s pow’r!
4. Before he came again to judge, He came to save one man;
Christ revealed through him the mystery of God’s eternal plan;
“Twas for all that Christ had died, and for our life He rose again!
Our faith in Christ alone! God gave Paul a dispensation;
God gave Paul a dispensation; God gave a Paul a dispensation;