Hymnspiration: Take the Name of Jesus With You, a.k.a. Precious Name

LydiaOdellBaxterToday’s hymn is known by two titles – Take the Name of Jesus With You or Precious Name – the latter being the opening words of the refrain and the former the opening words of the first stanza.

Lydia Odell was born in Petersburg, New York on September 2,1809 to parents Jonathan and Mary Odell.  Lydia was said to have been an invalid and bed-ridden most of her adult life.  Nevertheless, she was also known to be an enthusiastic Christian worker.

Lydia and her sister were converted to the Christian faith and were later responsible for establishing a Baptist church in their hometown of Petersburg.  She moved  to New York City after marrying her husband John Baxter, a ship chandler, in 1832.  At least three children, as enumerated in the 1855 New York State census, were born to John and Lydia:  Edgar, John and Lydia.

Lydia continued her Christian service in New York City.  Her home was known as a place where Christian workers, preachers and evangelists would gather for fellowship.  Evidently she possessed a positive attitude despite her illness.  Her friends would say that they would visit her sickroom not to comfort her but to receive encouragement for themselves.

She was particularly interested in the study of Biblical names and loved to discuss the meaning and significance of those names.  To Lydia Baxter, however, the most special name was the name of Jesus.  Whenever asked how she could be so positive despite her physical difficulties, she would reply, “I have a very special armor.  I have the name of Jesus.  When the tempter tries to make me blue or despondent, I mention the name of Jesus, and he can’t get through to me anymore.  The name Jesus means ‘Savior’ and it comes from the same Hebrew root from which the names of Joshua and Joash come.”

Her special relationship with her Savior led her to write hymns, although Take the Name of Jesus With You is the only one which remains in use today:

Take the Name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe,
It will joy and comfort give you;
Take it then, where’er you go.

Precious Name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n.
Precious Name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n.

Take the Name of Jesus ever,
As a shield from every snare;
If temptations round you gather,
Breathe that holy Name in prayer.

O the precious Name of Jesus!
How it thrills our souls with joy,
When His loving arms receive us,
And His songs our tongues employ!

At the Name of Jesus bowing,
Falling prostrate at His feet,
King of kings in Heav’n we’ll crown Him,
When our journey is complete.

Other hymns she wrote were:

Cast Thy Net Again, My Brother
The Gate Ajar for Me
Go, Work in My Vineyard
I’m Kneeling, Lord, at Mercy’s Gate
I’m Weary, I’m Fainting
In the Fadeless Springtime
The Master Is Coming
One by One we Cross the River

It is believed that she wrote today’s hymn about four years before her death on June 22, 1874.  The hymn was set to music not long afterwards by William H. Doane and first published (1871) in a hymnal, Pure Gold, edited and compiled by Doane and Robert Lowry.  The hymn was popular and widely-used in Dwight L. Moody crusades of the late nineteenth century.

In 1855 a book of her poems was published, entitled Gems by the Wayside or, Religious and Domestic Poems.  Her works of poetry were extensive – this book was over 260 pages in length, some poems having been previously published in various periodicals.  She prefaced her work by saying:

Many of these effusions have been pencilled while suffering affliction from the hand of a merciful God; some from incidents that have occurred by the wayside; others by the request of friends, who are now desirous to meet them in the form of a book.

This is the only department in the vineyard of my Master in which I have been able to labor for several years; and if some little good shall be the result, I feel that my reward will be ample.

Her testimony might best be summed up in her poem entitled Thanksgiving Hymn:

For what shall I thank Thee, my Saviour, my God?
For stroke upon stroke, from thy heavy rod?
For waves of affliction that break o’er my soul,
While billows of sorrow incessantly roll?

Yes, I’ll thank Thee for these, if grace but be given,
To guide my frail bark to the confines of heaven;
If through these dark tempests my faith can descry,
The Star of my Hope gleaming brightly on high.

I will thank Thee for life, its joys and its woes,
And drink to the dregs the cup He bestows,
If he will but grant me a sense of his love,
To comfort my soul in its pathway above.

I thank Thee, my Father, for Jesus thy Son,
Who came to redeem me when lost and undone;
Who bore in His body my sins on the tree,
Thus opening the portals of heaven for me.

There, there in His presence Thanksgiving and praise,
In songs never ceasing, to Jesus I’ll raise;
When freed from his body of sin and distress,
I’ll rest, oh! how sweetly on His precious breast!

If interested in her book of poems, you may obtain a free digitized copy of it here.

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2014.



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