(picture of Lydia O. Baxter)
TAKE THE NAME OF JESUS WITH YOU
“For there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)
INTRO.: A song which encourages us to give due consideration to that name by which we are saved is “Take The Name Of Jesus With You” (#430 in Hymns for Worship Revised, #661 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Lydia Odell Baxter, who was born at Petersburg, NY, on Sept. 8, 1809. As young women, she and her sister were converted by the preaching of a traveling Baptist missionary, Eben Tucker. A little while later, the two sisters were mainly responsible for the establishment of a Baptist church in their hometown. After her marriage, Lydia moved to New York City, NY, with her husband, where she zealously continued to carry on her religious work. Due to a serious illness, she became a partial invalid and was confined to her bed much of the time, but her home was a gathering place for preachers and other religious workers who came to her for advice.
Though Lydia was simply a housewife, all who knew her said that her radiance was an inspiration to them. Because of her patient cheerfulness, people often visited her sickroom not so much to comfort her as to be blessed by her. In 1855 she published a collection of religious poetry, Gems by the Wayside. Also she produced a number of gospel songs, such as “There Is a Gate Ajar for Me,” which were widely used. In 1870 she penned “Take the Name of Jesus With You” while she was on her sickbed just four years before her death. An avid student of the Bible, she often engaged in discussions of scriptural names with her friends and felt that the very utterance of the name of Jesus carried her to a deeper understanding, saying, “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 tune (Precious Name) was composed by William Howard Doane (1832-1915). The song first appeared in Pure Gold, edited in 1871 at New York City for Biglow and Main, by Doane and Robert Lowry (1826-1899). Mrs. Baxter, who never permitted her physical disability to stop her active mind from studying God’s word and writing about it or to quench her spiritual joy, died in New York City on June 22, 1874, at the age of 65. This song became widely known in evangelical churches through its use in evangelistic campaigns during the latter nineteenth century by revivalist Dwight Lyman Moody and his music director Ira David Sankey (1840-1908). It has become a very popular closing hymn. In many places, congregations do not sing the melody as it was originally and is usually written but follow some slight alterations that are attributed to Austin Taylor (1881-1973).
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use among churches of Christ, “Take the Name of Jesus With You” has 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; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; 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 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. 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 reminds us of the power of Jesus’s name which we should carry with us throughout life.
I. In stanza 1, we are told that the name of Jesus will give us joy and peace
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.
- As human beings, we are children of sorrow and woe: Job 14:1
- But the name of Jesus brings joy and comfort because it is through believing in His name that we have the right to become children of God: Jn. 1:12-13
- And to continue this joy and comfort, we must take it wherever we go by following Him: Matt. 16:24
II. In stanza 2, we are told that the name of Jesus will serve as a shield from every snare
Take the name of Jesus ever,
As a shield from every snare;
If temptations round you gather,
Breathe that holy name in prayer.
- God has promised to be a shield for His people: Gen. 15:1
- We need a shield to protect us because temptations round us gather: Jas. 1:14-15
- While there is no magic in simply uttering the name “Jesus,” when we truly confess His name it can help us live a life that is pleasing to God: Phil. 2:5-11
III. In stanza 3, we are told that the name of Jesus will enable us to rest in His loving arms
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!
- It is only in the Lord that we can find true joy: Phil. 4:4
- This joy is for those who seek refuge in His loving arms: Deut. 33:27
- While it is good for His songs to employ our tongues, we must also remember that to have the blessings that come in the name of Jesus, we must make sure that we do all things in His name or by His authority: Col. 3:16-17
IV. In stanza 4 (not in HFWR), we are told that the name of Jesus will make it possible to be with Him in heaven
At the name of Jesus bowing,
Falling prostrate at His feet,
King of kings in heaven we’ll crown Him,
When our journey is complete.
- At judgment, every knee will bow before Jesus in submission: Rom. 14:10-12
- Because He is King of kings, the righteous will crown Him with their eternal praises: Rev. 5:11-12
- And when we stand before His throne, those who on earth have claimed the name of Jesus in obedience to Him will have His name written on then: Rev. 3:12 (Because some editor perhaps thought that this stanza might be somehow considered premillennial, many of our books have altered it to read, “King of kings in heaven reigning, As we stand in Him complete.” One book changed the last line to “’Til all foes He shall defeat.”)
CONCL.: The chorus re-emphasizes the hope and joy that the name of Jesus can bring.
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.
As you go about your daily tasks, you can let Jesus share each concern that comes your way as you “Take the Name of Jesus with You.”