Hymn Stories

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The gifted Christian musician Joseph T. Webster was often tormented by deep feelings of depression.

On one occasion, when he was in a melancholy mood, he received a visit from his close acquaintance Fillmore Bennett.

Knowing that one way to keep Webster from brooding over his problems was to interest him in writing a hymn tune, Bennett decided he’d try to pen some lyrics that would direct his friend’s thoughts heavenward.

The despondent man himself unwittingly supplied the theme, for when he was asked, “What’s the matter now?” he replied, “Oh, it will be all right by and by!”

“That’s true,” exclaimed Bennett, “trials do generate great glory for us in the sweet by-and-by!”

Inspired by this thought, he immediately sat down and wrote several poetic verses on the subject. When his friend read them, a new look of hope came into his eyes, and his whole attitude changed.

After jotting down some musical notes, Webster took up his violin and played the melody he had composed to fit the words.

Within half an hour the enduring hymn “In the Sweet By-and-By” was born.

Sweet by and by

There’s a land that is fairer than day,

And by faith we can see it afar;

For the Father waits over the way,

To prepare us a dwelling place there.


In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore;

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore

The melodious songs of the blest;

And our spirits shall sorrow no more

Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above

We will offer our tribute of praise

For the glorious gift of His love,

And the blessings that hallow our days.