My Heart Was Glad
By A.C. Bridges (Originally printed in The ARP Magazine February 1980 pg. 7)
Our Bible-Song-of-the-Month is No. 144 in the BIBLE SONGS, entitled “My Heart Was Glad,” and is listed as a metrical version of PSALM 69:1, 3, 4 and PSALM 122:1. The chorus is the familiar 1st verse of Psalm 122 which in the King James Version says: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” As the Psalmist was glad to go into the courts of the Lord, so should the Christian delight in going to the place where Christians assemble for worship.
In the early part of this metrical version the singer who knows that the Lord’s loving-kindness is good and free pleads that the Lord will hear his prayer. And surely the weary pilgrim is glad when he has opportunity to go with others to ‘seek Jehovah’s House of Prayer. The composer of the tune was George Coles Stebbins, a native of New York (1846-1945), who studied music in Buffalo and Rochester and at the age of 23 moved to Chicago where he was associated with Lyon and Healy Music Company and director of music of the First Baptist Church. While here he became acquainted with the leading Gospel musicians of the day. Later the famous evangelist, Dwight L. Moody and other leading evangelists. He composed hundreds of songs and assisted in compiling numerous Gospel Song collections.
Even though he had spent his early life on a farm his musical interest was given a boost when he attended a singing school at age thirteen. Who would have thought that this lad would travel with the Moody-Sankey team in many parts of the United States and to England! Then he died at the age of 99 many newspapers carried editorials on his life and career. He had a well-trained musician-son, George Waring Stebbins, whom he outlived by five years. The son studied here and abroad and at one time was organist of the famed Plymouth Church in Brooklyn and was a founder of the American Guild of Organists. Mr. Stebbins who has several tunes in BIBLE SONGS was composer of the tunes used for such Gospel songs as: “Take time to be holy,” “Jesus is tenderly calling thee home,” and “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.”
(This Psalm can be found in the Bible Songs #144 and The ARP Psalter #177.)