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With full respect given to the songwriter Henry Gilmour (1869) for this beautiful hymn.
The Haven of Rest
My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying, “Make Me your choice”;
And I entered the Haven of Rest!
I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest,
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep o’er wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.
I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
In faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
The “Haven of Rest” is my Lord.
The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the Haven of Rest.
Story behind the hymn:
Born in Ireland, Henry Lake Gilmour went to sea at the age of 16 to learn navigation. When the ship reached Philadelphia, he decided to seek his fortune in America. He became a house painter, and served during the Civil War with the 1st New Jersey Cavalry. During a battle, he was captured, and spent months in a Confederate prison. After the war, Gilmour trained as a dentist, an occupation he had for many years.
In 1869 he moved to Wenonah, New Jersey, where a Methodist church was organized, at first meeting in his home. He served the church for years as a Sunday School superintendent and choir director. He was also in great demand as a song leader in the camp meetings of the day. Gilmour wrote many gospel songs, and published more than 16 song compilations.
The most familiar song of Henry Gilmour’s today is The Haven of Rest. In it he pictures the sinner seeking a safe harbour, and he presents the Lord Jesus Himself as that harbour.