Anne Steele wrote this hymn, which originally consisted of six stanzas. She published it in her Poems on Subjects Chiefly Devotional in 1760. Its title was “God My Creator and Benefactor.” Anne Steele was born in 1716 or 1717 in a village near Southampton, England. Her father was a timber merchant who also was an unsalaried Baptist minister. She suffered an accident in childhood that left her a lifelong invalid, and she experienced extreme sorrow when her fiancГ© was drowned on the eve of their wedding. She was devoutly consecrated to God, however. Although she wrote poetry from her childhood onward, she did not publish until others persuaded her to do so in 1760, resulting in two volumes. In all, she wrote 144 hymns, 34 psalms, and 30 short poems, using the pen name Theodosia. She died in 1778.
The tune, “El Kader,” appeared with this text in the 1869 Seventh-day Adventist hymnal Hymns and Tunes and in subsequent Adventist hymnals. But it has not been found in any of the standard current hymnals of other churches.
Both the author and the composer of this hymn were Seventh-day Adventists. Lillian Dale Avery-Stuttle (1855-1933) was a student at Battle Creek College, Michigan, in the late 1870s and become an editorial worker. Out of her deep devotion and faith she authored many beautiful poems and several books. One of her poems, “The Riven Veil,” graced the cover of the Review and Herald dated March 16, 1933, one day before her death. She expected to be one of those alive and faithful at Jesus’ second coming, and who, like Enoch, would be “translated that he should not see death” (Heb. 11:5). This hymn, based on Genesis 5:24, “And Enoch walked with God,” was her own favorite.
The tune “Morton” was composed by Edwin Barnes (1864-1930) and copyrighted by the J. E. White Publishing Company for inclusion in Hymns and Tunes in 1886. (J. E. White was James Edson White, the second son of James and Ellen G. White.) The hymn was named in honor of Eliza H. Morton, a teacher at Battle Creek College, where Barnes attended in 1881. He was also a teacher of music there, and served as chairman of its Music Department for nearly 20 years. He became well known in the wider community for his musical contributions and achievements, so that late in his life, in 1920, Hillsdale College in Michigan conferred on him the honorary Doctor of Music for his outstanding service in this field. He has one other hymn in the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, “O Worship the Lord,” hymn number 6.
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