(picture of William J. Kirkpatrick)
“REDEEMED, HOW I LOVE TO PROCLAIM IT”
“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…” (Eph. 1:7)
INTRO.: A song which refers to the redemption that we have through Christ’s blood is “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It” (#411 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #252 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Frances (Fanny) Jane Crosby VanAlstyne (1820-1915). The tune (Redeemed) was composed by William James Kirkpatrick, who was born at Duncannon, PA, on Feb. 27, 1838, the son of Thompson and Elizabeth Kirkpatrick. Receiving his first musical training from his music teacher father, he later studied with other well-known music teachers, such as Pasqualle Rondinella, Leopold Meignen, and T. Bishop. Moving to Philadelphia, PA, in 1855, he was known as “Philadelphia’s singing Irishman” and became a member of the Wharton St. Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1859, at the age of 21, he compiled his first hymnbook, Devotional Melodies, a collection of camp meeting songs published by A. S. Jenks of Philadelphia. In 1861 he married Miss S. J. Doak. That same year he became a fife-major in the 91st Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War.
After coming home from the war, Kirkpatrick was engaged in the furniture business in Philadelphia from 1862 to 1878, but maintained an active interest in church music during that time. Following his wife’s death in 1878, he gave up his business interests and devoted his full time to gospel music. From about 1880 on, he served as either editor or associate editor in the publication of about 100 collections of gospel songs with more than twenty publishers. The total sale of these books ran into the millions. “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It” first appeared in Songs of Redeeming Love which he compiled for John J. Hood in 1882, along with C. C. McCabe, Tullius Clinton O’Kane, and John Robson Sweney. Serving as music director at Grace Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia from 1886 to 1897, Kirkpatrick remained an active member even after his retirement until his death. In 1893 he married Mrs. Sara Kellogg Bourne, but she died about 1910. Then in 1917 he married Sweney’s widow.
In addition, he served as president of the Praise Publishing Company of Philadelphia which published many of his books. Among his frequent collaborators, besides Sweney, were Henry L. Gilmour, John H. Stockton, and J. Howard Entwisle. Kirkpatrick also wrote words and/or tunes for “Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah,” “O Spread The Tidings ‘Round,” “The Lord Is In His Holy Temple,” “O To Be Like Thee,” “Lead Me To Calvary,” “Give Me Thy Heart,” “Lord, I’m Coming Home,” “Who Will Follow Jesus?”, “He Hideth My Soul,” “Jesus Saves,” “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus,” “We Have An Anchor,” “Stepping In The Light,” “For Christ And The Church,” and “Christ Is My Savior.” His work became known among the churches of Christ by his helping to edit three song-books, Seventy-Seven Sweet Songs in 1906 and The New Christian Hymn Book in 1907, both with T. B. Larimore, and Praise Him in 1914 with A. B. Lipscomb, all three for the Gospel Advocate Company of Nashville, TN. His death occurred suddenly at Germantown, PA, near Philadelphia, on Sept. 20, 1921.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, “Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It” has appeared in the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat; the 2009 Favorite Songs of the Church and the 2010 Songs for Worship and Praise both edited by Robert J. Taylor Jr.; and the 2012 Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs edited by Steve Wolfgang et. al.; in addition to Hymns for Worship and Sacred Selections.
The song enumerates some of the blessings available to those who have redemption in Christ.
I. From stanza 1 we learn that those who are redeemed are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.
- We are not redeemed by silver or gold but with the precious blood of Jesus the Lamb: 1 Pet. 1:18-19
- This makes salvation according to God’s infinite mercy: Tit. 3:5
- The result is that we are enabled to become spiritual children of God: Gal. 3:26-27
II. From stanza 2 we learn that those who are redeemed are in Jesus and He in them
Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.
- Those who are in Christ are redeemed just as God’s chosen people of Israel were redeemed: Isa. 63:7-9
- The light of His presence dwells in them: Jn. 8:12
- Thus, they dwell in Him as they allow Him to dwell in them: Jn. 15:4-7
III. From stanza 3 (not in HFWR), we learn that those who are redeemed can sing with joy
I think of my blessèd Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long:
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.
- The redeemed think of their Redeemer all the day long because of His goodness and mercy: Ps. 107:1-2
- As a result, they sing praises to Him: Col. 3:16
- And the theme of their song is His love: 1 Jn. 3:16
IV. From stanza 4 (#3 in HFWR), we learn that those who are redeemed look forward to seeing the King
I know I shall see in His beauty
The King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,
And giveth me songs in the night.
- The hope of the redeemed is that when Christ comes we shall see Him as He is: 1 Jn. 3:1-2
- Until then, we look to Him to guard or keep our footsteps: 1 Pet. 1:3-5 (“kept by the power of God”)
- And as we do, He gives us songs in the night: Job 35:10
V. From stanza 5 (also not in HFWR) we learn that those who are redeemed hope for a crown
I know there’s a crown that is waiting,
In yonder bright mansion for me,
And soon, with the spirits made perfect,
At home with the Lord I shall be.
- There is a crown laid up for all the redeemed who truly love the Lord: 2 Tim. 4:6-8
- This crown will be given when we reach the mansion prepared by Christ: Jn. 14:1-3
- Then we shall be at home with the Lord along with the spirits made perfect: 2 Cor. 5:6-8, Heb. 12:23
CONCL.: The chorus echoes the glad theme of redemption in Christ
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
His child and forever I am.
The idea of redemption means a buying back. Mankind is separated from God by sin and thus becomes a slave to Satan. But God wishes to buy us back and so provides forgiveness of sin. What a blessed privilege it is to be “Redeemed!”