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A Famous Hymn: "Tell Me the Old, Old Story" by Miss Catherine Hankey

Author unknown.

"Tell me the old, old story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His Glory,
Of Jesus and His love
Tell me the story simply.
As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
And helpless and defiled."

Katherine HankeyThis hymn, and its companion, "I Love to Tell the Story" were both written by Miss Catherine Hankey, the daughter a banker in London, England. She was born in 1846, and from childhood gave evidence of a deeply religious nature.

In 1866 she published a book of devotional writings and among them was a long poem chiefly dealing with the life of Jesus. The poem was in two parts, the first being "The Story Wanted," and the second, "The Story Told." It is from the first part that the two very well known evangelical hymns, "Tell Me The Old, Old Story" and "I Love to Tell the Story" are taken.

Miss Hankey wrote the poem when she was recovering from a very serious illness. She was so weak and ill that her life wan despaired of and the line "For I am weak and weary" represents her condition at the time

Unlike so many favorite hymns which seem to have been written under the inspiration of a few minutes, this poem was the slow work of several months.

No doubt the slow work was partly due to her feeble condition, but Miss Hankey began the poem in January and did not finish it until November of the same year.

The hymn first became widely-known in 1967. During that year there was an International convention of the Young Men's Christian Association hold in Montreal.

Just previous to this there had been much internal trouble in Ireland and Major-General Russell, a man of fine Christian character had been in charge of the British troops which were sent to quell the trouble.

Major-General Russell was present at the Montreal convention and much interest centered around him. At one of the devotional sessions he arose end read Mies Hankey's hymn "Tell Me The Old, Old Story." He read the verses with such feeling that the whole gathering was deeply stirred

In the meeting that day was Dr. W. H. Doane, the well-known composer. The simplicity and charm of the simple verses strongly appealed tn him, and soon after, when he was travelling by stagecoach in the White Mountains he wrote the music which is now always linked with the words

The same evening the words and tune were sung in the parlors of Crawford House where Dr. Doane was staying

No one would claim that this was a great hymn from a literary standpoint, yet it has done incalculable good, and does not seem to suffer diminished popularity. It has been translated into German. Spanish. Italian and many other languages

Furthermore, it expresses with such simple clearness, affection for the Redeemer whom all Christians love, that it is sung with equal fervor by members of all churches.

—Author unknown.

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