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"Moment by Moment": The Story of the Gospel Hymn

by Ira D. Sankey

D. W. Whittle"Moment by Moment"—words by D. W. Whittle; music by May Whittle Moody.

"Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus a new life divine."

While I was attending the World's Fair, in Chicago, Henry Varley, a lay preacher from London, said to Major Whittle: "I do not like the hymn 'I need Thee every hour' very well, because I need Him every moment of the day." Soon after Major Whittle wrote this sweet hymn, having the chorus:

"Moment by moment I'm kept in His love;
Moment by moment I've life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine."

Mr. Whittle brought the hymn to me in manuscript a little later, saying that he would give me the copyright of both the words and music if I would print for him five hundred copies on fine paper, for distributing among his friends. His daughter, May Whittle, who later became the wife of Will R. Moody, composed the music. I did as Mr. Whittle wished; and I sent the hymn to England, where it was copyrighted on the same day as at Washington.

In England the hymn became very popular. Falling into the hands of the well-known Rev. Andrew Murray, of South Africa, then visiting London, he adopted it as his favorite hymn. A year later Mr. Murray visited Northfield, and while holding a meeting for men in the church he remarked: "If Sankey only knew a hymn which I found in London, and would sing it, he would find that it embraces my entire creed."

I was very anxious to know what hymn it was, and when he had recited it I said to him: "Doctor, that hymn was written within five hundred yards of where we are standing."

For years Dr. Murray had his wife sing this hymn in nearly all his meetings. It also became a great favorite in South Africa during the war.

From My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns by Ira D. Sankey. Philadelphia: The Sunday School Times Company, ©1907.

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