Hymns of Surrender - Give of Your Best, Draw Me Nearer, I Surrender All, Who Is on the Lord’s Side
March 15, 2023
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
We will consider four of the wealth of hymns emphasizing surrender and devotion.

“GIVE OF YOUR BEST TO THE MASTER” by Howard Grose, 1902

Grose’s poem is in meter, and the tune that is used is “Bernard” by Charlotte Barnard, 1864.

Grose (1851-1939) was an ordained Baptist minister who served at First Baptist Church, Poughkeepsie, New York (1883-87) and First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (1888-90). He was president of the University of South Dakota (1890-92) and taught history at the University of Chicago (1892-96). He was assistant editor of
The Watchman and editor of the American Baptist Home Mission’s journal. (Cited from Hymnary.org)

“Give of Your Best” is addressed particularly to young people, and it contains a wonderful exhortation to youth and to all of God’s people for full surrender to Christ. “Give of your best ... give of the strength of your youth ... your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor ... give him first place in your heart, give Him first place in your service, consecrate every part ... give Him the best that you have.”

“Give of Your Best” is a soldier hymn, which is a rare type of challenge today. It is an exhortation to engage in spiritual warfare for Christ’s sake.

The hymn ends with a challenge to adore and serve Christ because of His loving ransom work.

Grose published several other hymns, including “Lord, Increase Our Courage,” “Priceless Is Thy Treasure,” “Saviour, Divine, Thy Crown Was Thorns,” and “There Is No King but Jesus.” “Priceless Is Thy Treasure” is a brief, two-stanza song that acclaims God’s Word -- “Priceless is thy treasure,
Book of grace divine, Here, in love’s own measure, God’s heart speaks to mine.”

“Give of Your Best to the Master”

1 Give of your best to the Master; Give of the strength of your youth. Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor Into the battle for truth. Jesus has set the example, Dauntless was He, young and brave. Give Him your loyal devotion; Give Him the best that you have.
Refrain Give of your best to the Master; Give of the strength of your youth. Clad in salvation’s full armor, Join in the battle for truth. 2 Give of your best to the Master; Give Him first place in your heart. Give Him first place in your service; Consecrate every part. Give, and to you will be given; God His beloved Son gave. Gratefully seeking to serve Him, Give Him the best that you have. 3 Give of your best to the Master; Naught else is worthy His love. He gave Himself for your ransom, Gave up His glory above. Laid down His life without murmur, You from sin’s ruin to save. Give Him your heart’s adoration; Give Him the best that you have.

Scores and audio files

“DRAW ME NEARER” (“I AM THINE O LORD”) by Fanny Crosby, “America’s Hymn Queen,” 1875

The tune was written by William Doane, who collaborated with Fanny Crosby in many of the most popular hymns, including “Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” “Rescue the Perishing,” “Saviour, More Than Life to Me,” and “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.”

One evening Fanny Crosby was sitting with the Doanes and others on the Doane family porch (which can still be seen in Cincinnati, Ohio), and they described the beautiful sunset to the blind poetess. Ira Sankey described the scene like this: “Fanny Crosby was visiting Mr. W.H. Doane in his home in Cincinnati, Ohio. They were talking together about the nearness of God, as the sun was setting and the evening shadows were gathering around them. The subject so impressed the well-known hymn-writer that before retiring she had written the words to this hymn, which has become one of the most useful she has ever written. The music by Dr. Doane so well fitted the words that the hymn has become a special favorite wherever the gospel hymns are known” (Sankey,
My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns, 1906).

The hymn is addressed directly to God, as many of Crosby’s hymns are. God is described as Lord, blessed Lord, Saviour, Comforter, Hearer of prayer, Friend. The theme is communion with God and surrender to God, which is a response to God’s Word (“I have heard Thy voice”), and God’s love (“And it told Thy love to me”), and God’s grace (“by the pow’r of grace divine”), on the basis of Christ’s vicarious atonement (“Thy precious, bleeding side”). Surrender is to loose one’s will in God’s (“And my will be lost in Thine”). It is to serve God in a needy world (“Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord”). The hymn describes communion in terms of ever-increasing delight and joy.

“Draw Me Nearer”

1 I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice, And it told Thy love to me; But I long to rise in the arms of faith, And be closer drawn to Thee.

Refrain Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, To the cross where Thou hast died; Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, To Thy precious, bleeding side.

2 Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, By the pow’r of grace divine; Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, And my will be lost in Thine. [Refrain]

3 Oh, the pure delight of a single hour That before Thy throne I spend, When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God, I commune as friend with friend! [Refrain]

4 There are depths of love that I cannot know Till I cross the narrow sea; There are heights of joy that I may not reach Till I rest in peace with Thee. [Refrain]

Audio recording and scores (including for instruments)

“I SURRENDER ALL” by J.W. Van DeVenter, 1896

“Judson Van de Venter (1855-1939) was raised on a farm near Dundee, Michigan. After graduating from Hillsdale College, he taught art in public schools in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Van Deventer was active as a layman in his Methodist Episcopal Church, including participation in revivals held at the congregation. Based on his fervent faith and service to the church, friends encouraged him to leave his field of teaching and become an evangelist. It took five years for him to finally ‘surrender all’ and follow the advice of his friends. His ministry took him to various places in the United States, England, and Scotland” (C. Michael Hawn).

Van DeVenter described his experience of surrender as follows: “The song was written while I was conducting a meeting at East Palestine, Ohio, and in the home of George Sebring (founder of Sebring Campmeeting Bible Conference). For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became an evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, he caused me to sing” (Kenneth Osbeck,
101 Hymn Stories).

The hymn repeats “I surrender” 20 times in the refrain and stanzas, hammering home the theme. Full surrender is an essential part of proving God’s perfect will (Romans 12:1-2). The hymn speaks of many other important aspects of godly Christian living: loving Christ, trusting Christ, living in His presence, forsaking worldly pleasures, being filled with Christ’s love and power.

We must note, though, that there is a doctrinal problem in the hymn in that it speaks of feeling the Holy Spirit, feeling the sacred flame, and achieving “the joy of full salvation” as a result of surrender. This comes from Methodist holiness theology. God’s people must examine each hymn and spiritual song carefully for theological soundness and deal with any problems that might exist. We must stop singing as a mere mindless tradition and sing, rather, according to Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

“I Surrender All”

1 All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.

Refrain I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

2 All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow; Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me, Jesus, take me now.

3 All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Savior, wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine.

4 All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy love and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me.

5 All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame; Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory, to His Name!

Sheet music and audio file

“WHO IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE” by Francis Havergal, 1877

Francis Havergale (1836-1879) wrote a great many hymns, about 50 of which have remained popular for a century and a half. These include “I Gave My Life for Thee,” “God Will Take Care of You,” “I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,” “Like a River Glorious,” “True-hearted, Whole-hearted, Faithful and Loyal,” and “Take My Life and Let It Be.”

A pastor’s daughter, Francis “committed her soul to the Saviour” at age 15. She was scholarly, knew Greek and Hebrew and several modern languages, but beyond that, she had a divine gift for words. “The burden of her writings is a free and full salvation, through the Redeemer's merits, for every sinner who will receive it, and her life was devoted to the proclamation of this truth by personal labours, literary efforts, and earnest interest in Foreign Missions” (James Davidson). Her hymns were frequently printed as leaflets and ornamental cards and enjoyed wide popularity.

In “Who Is on the Lord’s Side,” Miss Havergal challenges the redeemed saints to surrender to the call of duty as Christian soldiers in the ancient battle for truth and souls.

It is the same call that echos through the Bible, beginning with Moses’ challenge to Israel:

“Then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, Whoever is on the LORD’S side–come to me! And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him” (Exodus 32:26).

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ... But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

“How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

Havergal’s hymn is filled with doctrinal edification and challenge.

The call to surrender is the response to Christ’s love. “By Thy love constraining, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!”

The call to surrender is the response to Christ’s ownership of the redeemed. Four times the hymn repeats, “Savior, we are Thine!”

The call to surrender is a call of mercy and grace. We do not serve in our own righteousness and strength and gifting. Rather, it is “By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine.”

The call to surrender is because of the vicarious blood atonement of Christ. Francis Havergal well understood the centrality of Christ’s blood. “Jesus, Thou hast bought us, not with gold or gem,
But with Thine own lifeblood, for Thy diadem ... By Thy grand redemption, by Thy grace divine, We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!”

The call to surrender is the call to separation from the world. “Who will leave the world’s side?” It is impossible to serve God and mammon.

The call to surrender is the call to fierce warfare. There is nothing soft and easy about the true Christian life. It is a warrior’s life. “Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe,”

The call to surrender is the call to a pilgrim mindset and lifestyle. “
Chosen to be soldiers, in an alien land, Chosen, called, and faithful, for our Captain’s band.”

The tune to “Who Is on the Lord’s Side” is “Armageddon” by C. Luise Reichardt.

“Who Is on the Lord’s Side?”

1 Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King?
Who will be His helpers, other lives to bring?
Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe?
Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go?
By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

2 Not for weight of glory, nor for crown and palm,
Enter we the army, raise the warrior psalm;
But for love that claimeth lives for whom He died:
He whom Jesus saveth marches on His side.
By Thy love constraining, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

3 Jesus, Thou hast bought us, not with gold or gem,
But with Thine own lifeblood, for Thy diadem;
With Thy blessing filling each who comes to Thee,
Thou hast made us willing, Thou hast made us free.
By Thy grand redemption, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

4 Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe,
But the King’s own army none can overthrow;
’Round His standard ranging, vict’ry is secure,
For His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure.
Joyfully enlisting, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

5 Chosen to be soldiers, in an alien land,
Chosen, called, and faithful, for our Captain’s band;
In the service royal, let us not grow cold,
Let us be right loyal, noble, true and bold.
Master, wilt Thou keep us, by Thy grace divine,
Always on the Lord’s side—Savior, always Thine!

Sheet music and audio file

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