“My Mother’s Bible”
The words to this poem were written by an evangelist who held tent campaigns from about 1896 to 1910 as best I could find. Milan Bertrand Williams was born in 1860 and lived 81 years. The poem was set to music by Charlie Tillman and copyrighted as renewed in 1921 in one hymnal I saw at hymnary.org.
The refrain has been on my mind for two days now and unrelenting! You know how a person gets a jingle in mind and it won’t go away? That’s what this refrain is doing to me; it is good thing. The refrain is: “Blessed book, precious book, On thy dear old tear-stained leaves I love to look; thou art sweeter day by day, as I walk the narrow way that leads at last to that bright home above. My recall to the rest of the song came very slowly as my 1943 processor is getting slower every year!
Finally I looked in my two hymnbooks and couldn’t find it; yet, I recalled singing it as a choir special years ago. YEARS ago. Thanks for computers and search engine success, I found the title by the first line of the refrain. Amazing. When I at last had the title, I found it as hymn number 377 in Soul-Stirring Songs and Hymns Sword of the Lord Publishing, Copyright 1972. Relief. According to hymnary.org the song was no longer found in hymnbooks after 1977.
Last year I endowed my son with my first Bible. It was a gift to me from a sweet friend in 1960 and it journeyed with me through Bible College. When I graduated from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in 1966 I received a better bound Scofield Study Bible. I still have it. I carried that one for ten years, went to a Thompson Chain Bible, leather-bound which I would still be using as my “carry” Bible if I did not need larger print. With all that said, here is the poem:
There’s a dear and precious book,
Though it’s worn and faded now,
Which recalls those happy days of long ago,
When I stood at Mother’s knee,
With her hand upon my brow,
And I hear her voice in gentle tones and low. (Refrain)
Then she read the stories o’er,
Of those mighty men of old,
And of Joseph and of Daniel and their trials,
Of little David bold,
Who became a king at last,
Of Satan and his many wicked wiles. (refrain)
Then she read of Jesus’ love,
As he blessed the children dear,
How He suffered, bled, and died upon the tree,
Of his heavy load of care,
Then she dried my flowing tears
With her kisses as she said it was for me. (refrain)
Well those days are past and gone,
But the memory lingers still
And the Dear Old Book has been my guide;
And I seek to do His will,
As my mother taught me then,
And ever in my heart His words abide.
Blessed Book, precious book,
On thy dear old tear-stained leaves I love to look,
Thou art sweeter day by day,
As I walk the narrow way
That leads at last to that bright home above.
A good leather-bound Bible in a Bible Book store today will cost about 75 dollars. If it is a study Bible that is leather-bound, even more. No price can be attached, however, to a well-worn, loved, and carried Bible. Certainly no price can be associated in dollar amount for what we may have to do in order to be able to continue practicing its precepts. When I pass from the halls of this earth to the corridors of Heaven, I hope that the Bibles in my house will be a sought-after treasure by my descendents. There are pages with tear wrinkles here and there. And yes, a few coffee stains too!
Unfamiliar with this song and tune? You can find it at http://cyberhymnal.org