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"When He Cometh": William Orcutt Cushing

by Amos R. Wells

William CushingWilliam Orcutt Cushing, who signed his name to his hymns simply "W. O. Cushing," wrote a large number of songs that found wide popularity in Sunday school. He was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, [United States], December 31, 1823, and died October 19, 1902.

Most of his songs are of death and heaven. The most familiar are, "Down in the valley with my Saviour I would go," "O, safe to the rock that is higher than I," "Ring the bells of heaven, there is joy to-day," "We are watching; we are waiting," and the "jewel song," "When He cometh," which is the one specially before us.

He wrote the "jewel song" when he was a young man, in 1856, and it was composed for use in his own Sunday school. George F. Root, the famous composer, wrote for it a very effective tune.

A minister once returning from Europe on a British steamer visited the steerage and proposed a song service there. He started it with this "jewel song." Mr. Root's melody was at once caught up by the immigrants, and they soon learned the hymn, which was sung by these men and women of all nations during the rest of the voyage. When at Quebec they took the train for their journeys to their new homes the song burst from every car. Here are the words:—

When He cometh, when He cometh
  To make up His jewels,
All the jewels, precious jewels,
  His loved and His own;
Like the stars of the morning,
  His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
  Bright gems for His crown.

  The gems for His kingdom,
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
  His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
  His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
  Bright gems for His crown.

Little children, little children
  Who love their Redeemer,
Are the jewels, precious jewels,
  His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
  His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
  Bright gems for His crown.


Copied for WholesomeWords.org from Biography of Gospel Song and Hymn Writers by J. H. Hall. New York: Fleming H. Revell, ©1914.

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