By A.C. Bridges
(Originally printed in The ARP Magazine April 1980.)
The Bible-Song-of-the-Month is No. 133 entitled “He Set Me Free,” and is a version of part of the 66th and 34th Psalms. The refrain is a part of the 34th Psalm. The version used here is from the classic Psalter published in this country by the United Presbyterian Church in 1912 based on the work of a joint committee representing nine American and Canadian denominations, and afterward adopted by several other church groups. The tune is by Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909) who was born and educated in this country at the Boston Conservatory of Music and also in Leipzig, Germany.
Even though Thompson wrote many secular and patriotic songs his major interest was in sacred songs. The story is told that once he went to visit the famous evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, who was quite ill and could have no visitors. But when Mr. Moody heard that Thompson was there he insisted that he be admitted. On this occasion Moody told Thompson that he would rather have written Thompson’s hymn, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling,” than anything he had ever been able to do in his whole life. The tune to which our Bible-Song-of-the-Month is set was written for the hymn, “Jesus Is All the World to Me,” and it first appeared in the NEW CENTURY HYMNAL in 1904.
(This Psalm can be found in the ARP Psalter 175 and in the Bible Song book 133.)