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~The Ninety And Nine

       In 1874, Sankey and Moody held revivals in Scotland.

       Once on a train Sankey bought a newspaper to find news of America, but was disappointed. He threw it down, later picked it up and in a corner he saw a poem. He liked it and read it to Moody, who was absorbed in reading letters from Chicago.

       The next day at noon, Moody’s topic was The Good Shepherd. Moody suddenly asked Sankey to sing something.

       But if I sing Psalm 23, every Scotsman would join in, he thought. Then a voice said, Sing the hymn you found on the train. But there was no melody to that poem!

       Placing the clipping on the organ, and after a brief pause of urgent prayer, Sankey began singing. Note by note, the tune came out. At the end of the first stanza, a difficulty arose: would the tune be the same? It came out the same for the second stanza. And that hymn has come to us today—without change.

       When Sankey stopped singing, a great sigh arose from the congregation, “Rejoice! for the Lord has found His sheep!”


The Ninety and Nine[1]

1           There were ninety and nine that safely lay

In the shelter of the fold,

But one was out on the hills away,

Far off from the gates of gold;

Away on the mountains wild and bare,

Away from the tender Shepherd’s care,

Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

2           Lord, Thou has here Thy ninety and nine

Are they not enough for Thee?

But the shepherd made answer

“This of mine Has wandered away from me,

And although the road be rough and steep,

I go to the desert to find my sheep,

I go to the desert to find my sheep.

3           But none of the ransomed ever knew

How deep were the waters crossed

Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through

Ere He found His sheep that was lost.

Far out in the desert He heard its cry,

’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die,

’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die.

4           Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way

That marks out the mountain’s track?

They were shed for one who had gone astray

Ere the shepherd could bring him back,

Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?

They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn,

They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.

5           But all through the mountains, thunder riv’n

And up from the rocky steep,

There arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n,

Rejoice I have found my sheep.

And the angels echoed around the throne,

Rejoice for the Lord brings back His own,

Rejoice for the Lord brings back His own.


[1]Eckert, Paul, Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.






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