Alternate Closing Hymn, Spirit of Prophecy Sabbath, October 22, 2005

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"Take Time to Be Holy"
(SDAH 500, CH 603)

Verse One:
Take time to be holy,
Speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always
And feed on His word;
Make friends of God's children,
Help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing
His blessing to seek.

Verse Two:
Take time to be holy,
The world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone;
By looking to Jesus,
Like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct
His likeness shall see.

Verse Three:
Take time to be holy,
Let Him be thy Guide,
And run not before Him,
Whatever betide;
In joy or in sorrow,
Still follow thy Lord,
And, looking to Jesus,
Still trust in His word.

Verse Four:
Take time to be holy,
Be calm in thy soul
Each thought and each motive
Beneath His control;
Thus led by His Spirit
To fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted
For service above.

Background Information to Hymn #500

William Dunn Longstaff, a wealthy Englishman, heard a sermon preached by Griffith John, a missionary returned from China, on the text: “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). The verse is a direct quotation from the Old Testament (Lev. 11:44), where it appears as a description of a future event rather than an imperative command. Longstaff was a friend of D. L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey, and when this evangelistic duo visited the northeastern part of England he showed them the poem he had written as a result of hearing the sermon.

The poem was written in 1882 and given to Sankey. He passed it on to George Coles Stebbins, who laid it aside for further attention. Not until eight years later, in 1890, when Stebbins was in India, did he remember its existence. He was leading the music in an evangelistic revival meeting and the subject of holiness was mentioned, triggering his memory. He searched for the poem among his papers, found it, and set the words to this tune, “Holiness.” He sent the complete hymn to Sankey, who published it later that same year.

Longstaff was born on January 28, 1822, in Sunderland, England, the son of a wealthy ship owner. He was a faithful steward of his riches and was known to be a most philanthropic and generous individual. He was a friend of Moody and Sankey, and also of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. He died on April 2, 1894, in his hometown of Sunderland.

Adapted from Wayne Hooper and Edward E. White, Companion to the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1988).

SDAH = Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal
CH = Church Hymnal