I came across this traditional tune from Wikipedia while reading the entry of “Pilgrim”. Which usually refers to the English Settlers of New England, who celebrated the “First Thanksgiving with the Native Americans in 1621.

I remember a lot of these Pilgrims left England due to religious oppression from the state churches to the individual Christians groups. So they left for Americas.

Personally, I once was considering should I name my blog “The Lone Pilgrim” or not.. hahah, In a way, We are all sojourners on earth, waiting for a heavenly city. None the less, the lyrics of the traditional hymn caught my attention, as it kind of reminded me of the situation I am in. (Yes.. my trials isn’t over) . But of course, I hardly think that I will get a contagious diseases and die in a tomb alone…

From the Lyrics, I can see that a fellow Pilgrim was walking and he came across a tomb of another fallen Pilgrim.. and this Pilgrim is sharing about all that he had done for God, how he left his home, and family to sojourn in a foreign world. And he asked the Pilgrim to comfort his family, saying that God who brought him through places that are more severe has kindly brought him home to heaven instead.

According to my web research, one of the website I found reads

Legends of its origin and claims to its authorship are many. The ‘White Pilgrim’ form has been attributed to B. F. White (The Sacred Harp, 1911); the ‘Lone Pilgrim’ to William Walker (Southern Harmony, 1847; Christian Harmony, 1866)…

The White Pilgrim was Joseph Thomas, a ‘New Light Christian’ evangelist who dressed in white raiment and travelled through much of the area east of the Mississippi from July 6, 1815, to April 9, 1835, when he died of the smallpox in Johnsonburg, New Jersey. In the fall of 1838, a fellow preacher, Elder John Ellis of Dayton, Ohio, visited the grave of the Pilgrim and composed the poem which the author said was ‘sung around the world.’ At any rate, the song appeared in various shape-note hymnals and on at least one broadside, gained three stanzas in its various appearances, and has been collected by folklorists from Vermont to California… In some Northern hymn books, including those edited by Elder Ellis, the text is set to ‘Lily Dale’, but the more popular tune is the one Doc sings, a set of ‘The Braes of Balquhidder’….

But what it strikes me most about the lyrics sang, is that the Lone Pilgrim seems to be happy with God even though God led him through “scenes most severe”, and God has brought kindly brought him home. According to this song, he caught a contagious disease and died.

This led me to wonder about my own trials… When the “Scenes most severe” comes, what will my reaction be? Will I still continue to trust God.. and say Amen.. even if Gods final will is to just “recall” me back to heaven? Not that I think I am perfected in anyway, but just because of the grace of God.

Nonetheless, the lyrics of the hymn reminded me of a few verses of the bible.

Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matt 8:19-20

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Lk 9:62

So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time-houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions-and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mk 10:29

(Note: I am not advocating it is proper for Christians to abandon their duties and love for the family. In fact, we must love our families all the more)

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. Php 1:19-26

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 1 Tim 4:6-8

I search youtube for the hymn… but honestly, my favourite is still the one I found on Wikipedia by Emily Hurst. But you may find the lyrics she is singing differs from mine.

Title: The Lone Pilgrim
Lyrics: Unknown

I came to the place where the lone pilgrim lay
And pensively stood by his tomb,
When in a low whisper I heard something say,
“How sweetly I sleep here alone.”

The tempest may howl and the loud thunder roar,
And gathering storms may arise,
But calm is my feeling, at rest is my soul.
The tears are all wiped from my eyes.

The cause of my Master compelled me from home,
No kindred or relative nigh.
I met the contagion and sank to the tomb,
My soul flew to mansions on high.

Go tell my companion and children most dear
To weep not for me now I’m gone.
The same hand that led me through scenes most severe
Has kindly assisted me home.”

(this additional verse is compose by JJ Hicks, Not commonly sung)
And there is a crown that doth glitter and shine,
That I shall for evermore wear:
Then turn to the Saviour , his love all divine
All you that would dwell with me there.

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