“The Touch of His Hand on Mine”

"And He said..My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Cor. 12.9)

     INTRO.: A song which suggests that God’s grace, love, and care are sufficient for all our needs in that He touches us today through the word is "By the Touch of His Hand on Mine" (#493 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Jessie H. Brown Pounds (1861-1921).  Mrs. Pounds provided texts for several well-known songs that have been in our books, including "Am I Nearer to Heaven Today?", "Anywhere With Jesus," "Are You Coming to Jesus Tonight?", "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere," "I Know that My Redeemer Liveth," "Soul, A Savior Thou Art Needing," "The Way of the Cross," and "Will You Not Tell It Today?"
     The tune was composed by Henry P. Morton (19th-20th century).  Nothing is known of this composer. Cyberhymnal credits him with two other melodies, "His Promise to Me" with words by James Rowe, and "The Trumpet Shall Sound." "The Touch of His Hand on Mine" was copyrighted in 1913 by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel, but it was later owned by Edwin Othello Excell. The copyright was renewed in 1941 by Morton but later assigned to the Hope Publishing Co.  Judging from the number of older hymnbooks in my collection which included the song, it must have been very popular at one time.

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2, both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch. The only currently published book used among brethren of which I know that carries the song is Sacred Selections.

     The song encourage us to looking for the hand of God in our lives to guide and comfort us.

I. Stanza 1 says that God’s hand will guide us when the days are dark
"There are days so dark that I seek in vain
For the face of my Friend Divine;
But though darkness hide, He is there to guide
By the touch of His hand on mine."
 A. Darkness is often used in scripture to represent sin, but poetically it can also be used to symbolize days of trouble and trial: Job 14.1, Jas. 1.2
 B. Things may be so bad that it seems that we cannot see the face of our Friend Divine, indicating that we might be so puzzled that we just do not know what to do: Phil. 1.22
 C. However, He has given us something that will pierce the darkness and that is His word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our pathway: Ps. 119.105

II. Stanza 2 says that God’s hand will guide us when the times are toilsome
"There are times, when tired of the toilsome road,
That for ways of the world I pine;
But He draws me back to the upward track
By the touch of His hand on mine."
 A. There are times when it seems as if our lives are nothing but toil and labor: Ps. 90.10
 B. It is at those times when we are most often tempted to pine for the ways of the world: 1 Jn. 2.15-17
 C. However, God seeks to draw us back to the upward track by having us store up His word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him: Ps. 119.11

III. Stanza 3 says that God’s hand will guide us when the way is dim
"When the way is dim, and I cannot see
Through the mist of His wise design,
How my glad heart yearns and my faith returns
By the touch of His hand on mine."
 A. Sometimes the way seems dim because we just do not know what the future holds or what God designs for us: Jer. 10.23
 B. However, we should still have a heart that yearns to do God’s will no matter what: Ps. 119.136
 C. With this attitude, our faith "returns" or can be strengthened by God’s word: Rom. 10.17

IV. Stanza 4 says that God’s hand will guide us when the last sad hour has come
"In the last sad hour, as I stand alone
Where the powers of death combine,
While the dark waves roll He will guide my soul
By the touch of His hand on mine."
 A. The "last sad hour" obviously refers to the end of life, when "the powers of death combine": Heb. 9.27
 B. Death is pictured as standing where "the dark waves roll," just as the children of Israel stood by the waters of Jordan before entering the promised land: Josh. 3.14-17
 C. However, even in death we should cling to God’s word because it alone can give us an inheritance among those who are sanctified: Acts 20.32

     CONCL.: The chorus continues to remind us of the grace and power of God’s touch through His word in any trying hour:
"O the touch of His hand on mine,
O the touch of His hand on mine!
There is grace and power, in the trying hour,
In the touch of His hand on mine."
When I was growing up and my home congregation purchased Sacred Selections, I asked one of our song leaders if he knew this song. He did not but told me to ask my Grandfather Workman, a gospel preacher, because he should probably know it.  I do not now remember if I ever did ask Grandpa about it, but whenever I sing or even see the song, I still always think of him. Aside from that personal memory, it is good to be made aware of God’s love and care for me as I follow His word so that I can be led "By the Touch of His Hand on Mine."


One thought on ““The Touch of His Hand on Mine”

  1. Further research has revealed the following information. Henry Prior Morton was born in Shades Solitude, Logan County, KY, on Sept. 25, 1870, to Marmaduke B. Morton (1840-1881) and Louisa Virginia Morton (1844-1930). Henry married Lula Rice. Hymnary.org lists 21 tunes by Henry P. Morton. The new Cyberhymnal website adds “No One Loves You So” to Morton’s credits. He passed away in 1942 and is buried in Auburn Cemetery at Auburn in Logan County, KY. The epitaph on his gravestone reads “The Touch of His Hand on Mine.”


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