Sunday, July 17, 2016

Stepping in the Light





Stepping in the Light
By: Eliza E. Hewitt
 
Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Trying to follow our Savior and King;
Shaping our lives by His blessed example,
Happy, how happy, the songs that we bring.
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Stepping in the light, stepping in the light,
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Led in paths of light.
 
Pressing more closely to Him Who is leading,
When we are tempted to turn from the way;
Trusting the arm that is strong to defend us,
Happy, how happy, our praises each day.
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Stepping in the light, stepping in the light,
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Led in paths of light.
 
Walking in footsteps of gentle forbearance,
Footsteps of faithfulness, mercy, and love,
Looking to Him for the grace freely promised,
Happy, how happy, our journey above.
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Stepping in the light, stepping in the light,
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Led in paths of light.
 
Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Upward, still upward, we follow our Guide;
When we shall see Him, "the King in His beauty,"
Happy, how happy, our place at His side.
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Stepping in the light, stepping in the light,
 How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Led in paths of light.



Eliza Edmunds Hewitt was born on June 28, 1851, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the second of six children and first daughter of the family.
She attended the public schools of Philadelphia, and graduated valedictorian in her class at the Girl's Normal School of Philadelphia, and became a schoolteacher at age 18. She taught school, but became bedridden because of a spinal condition. The illness may have come from a boy striking her in the back with a heavy slate. She was put in a heavy cast for six months. As an invalid for an extended period, she developed a love of God and the Scriptures, and the hope of sharing with others in written form. She wrote Sunday School literature and children's poems. She wrote a poem for her pastor during this time entitled "Winning Souls for Jesus" and it was placed in the corner stone of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church of West Philadelphia. Professor J. R. Sweney saw some of her work and wrote to her asking for some contributions he could put to music. This led to her becoming known by Professor W.J. Kirkpatrick, and she wrote most of her poems for him to use.
Eliza's condition eventually improved and she was able to return to an active life in Christian ministry.  In thankfulness at the joy of being able to get around again and walk in the park, she wrote "There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today."
She was very committed to reaching children through Sunday Schools and attended the Methodist Camp meetings in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. She worked with the Methodist District Superintendent's wife, Emily Wilson, on the hymn poem, "When We All Get to Heaven." Through her poems, her goal was to reach children with the message of the gospel. The hymns that Eliza wrote include, "Give Me Thy Heart," "More About Jesus," "Sing the Wondrous Love of Jesus," "Stepping in the Light," "There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today," "When We All Get to Heaven," and "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown."
Eliza was a close friend of Fanny Crosby and the two often met to have fellowship and talk about hymns. She wrote this tribute to Fanny in 1905.
"The friends are forming a garland,
Fragrant and lovely and sweet,
The roses and lilacs of friendship,
To lay at our loved one’s feet.

And while the fair chaplet they’re twining,
May I bring a little flower,
A forget-me-not, meek and lowly;
To add to the joys of the hour?

This love-wreath is for our dear Fanny,
Whose heart is so young and so true,
No wonder her songs, freely gushing,
Are as fresh as the morning dew!

They sparkle with Spring’s happy sunshine,
They ripple like streams of delight,
They flow from the rocks of the mountain,
They touch us with love’s tender might.

Because she sings of her Saviour,
And His spirit tunes her lyre,
Her work shall go on forever,
And she has been called up higher.

So we’ll gather round our Fanny,
With smiles and greetings sincere;
May she have just the sweetest birthday
She has had for many a year.

Then we’ll all be happy with her,
And thank the dear Lord above,
For sending us one of His angels
To sing to us of His love.

O friend beloved, with joy again
We hail thy natal day,
Which brings you one year nearer home,
Rejoicing on the way.

How fast the years are rolling on—
We cannot stay their flight;
The summer sun is going down,
And soon will come the night.

But you, dear friend, need fear no ill,
Your path shines bright and clear;
You know the Way, the Truth, the Life,
To you He’s ever near.

And when you pass from time away
To meet your Lord and King,
In heaven you’ll meet ten thousand souls,
That you have taught to sing.

A few more years to sing the song
Of our Redeemer’s love;
Then by His grace both you and I
Shall sing His praise above
."

 
In addition to being a cousin of the hymn writer, Edgar Page Stites, she also worked with other well known hymn writes like Charles Gabriel, Homer Rodeheaver, and E.S. Lorenz. Eliza was grateful to hear from people all over the world how her songs had helped people. She grouped the stories into a talk she would give entitled, "Around the World on Wings of Song."
On April 24, 1920, Eliza died at the age of 68 in Philadelphia.  Her hymns have and continue to inspired people all over the world.

May you walk in the steps of the Savior this week and every week. :)
Love in Christ,
Ashley

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