Hymn 132 “To God be the Glory”
William Howard Doane composed hymn 132. Doane was born on February 3, 1832, in New London County, Connecticut. He was both a gifted student and a musician.
Reprinted from March 2009
William Doane was extremely successful in business and accumulated substantial wealth as he grew older. Like Frances Crosby and her husband, Doane contributed large sums of money to many worthwhile causes. He is known as an industrialist and a philanthropist.
During his life, Doane edited forty-three collections of hymns and wrote over 2,000 hymn tunes. One of his favorite hymn writers was Fanny Crosby. He died on December 23, 1915, at the age of eighty-three.
Fanny Crosby and William Doane combined their talents to write the hymn titled, “Will Jesus Find Us Watching?” Doane wrote the music, and Fanny the hymn words. The lyrics express an expectation that Jesus will return, and some Biblical details about his return.
Verse 1 reads:
When Jesus comes to reward His servants,
Whether it be noon or night,
Faithful to Him will He find us watching,
With our lamps all trimmed and bright?
These words capture Jesus’ words about the need for lamps filled with oil when he returns, representing preparedness and watchfulness for the Lord’s return. This has been a serious and solemn lesson to all Jesus’ followers throughout the ages since his ascension to heaven.
Verse 2 of the hymn reads:
If at the dawn of the early morning,
He shall call us one by one,
When to the Lord we restore our talents,
Will He answer thee, “Well done?”
This verse builds on the thoughts of the Parable of the Talents, in which our accountability to use the gifts God has entrusted to His servants in a wise and faithful way is described.
Verse 3 of the hymn outlines the comfort of serving God in the best way we are able. Our daily service should be loving and willing. Doing our best requires our full commitment and attention throughout each day.
Have we been true to the trust He left us?
Do we seek to do our best?
If in our hearts there is naught condemns us,
We shall have a glorious rest.
The concept of hearts void of condemnation is discussed in 1 John 3. We are very much aware of our inadequacies. We need to be equally aware of the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father and His Son:
Verse 4 of the hymn stresses the need to be watching daily for Christ’s return:
Blessed are those whom the Lord finds watching,
In His glory they shall share;
If He shall come at the dawn or midnight,
Will He find us watching there?
For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything
Mark emphasizes the need for continuous and vigilant watching for Jesus’ return. We can be so easily distracted and enticed by secular interests that lead to inattention to godly service and responsibilities:
Joan and Ken Curry,
(Toronto East Ecclesia, ON)
1 All Scriptural citations are taken from the New International Version.