Saviour! Thy Dying Love -Sylvanus D. Phelps


The text for this song of consecration was written in 1862 by Sylvanus D. Phelps. It first appeared anonymously in “The Youth’s Companion” the following year and was titled “Something for Thee.” It was rewritten in its present form a few years later by Phelps at the request of hymnbook editor Robert Lowry. He’d seen the poem and asked Phelps to submit it as a hymn, and Lowry composed the hymn’s tune, “Something for Jesus.” Lowry included the song in his 1871 collection, “Pure Gold for the Sunday School.”


Phelps was pastor of the First Baptist Church in New Haven, Connecticut, for 28 years, and then he ministered briefly at the Jefferson Street Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island. He resigned to become editor of “The Christian Secretary,” a Baptist newspaper. He was the author of several hymns and co-editor of “The Baptist Praise Book” (1871).


“Saviour! Thy Dying Love” is a meditation song that expresses the Christian’s desire to give something back to the Lord in response to the great love and sacrifice He demonstrated on the cross. The tune fits the words well, and the gentle harmonies are appropriate for the song. On Phelps’ seventieth birthday, Lowry said: “It is worth living seventy years, even if nothing comes of it but one such hymn as ‘Saviour! Thy Dying Love.’ Happy is the man who can produce one song which the world will keep on singing after its author shall have passed away."


This song has been included in nearly every standard hymnbook over the last 100 years and is worthy of being sung more often.  The spiritual desires which are expressed are important for all believers. Every stanza admonishes the Christian to offer one’s entire life as “something for thee.” I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).

Saviour! thy dying love
Thou gavest me,
Nor should I aught withhold,
Dear Lord, from thee.
In love my soul would bow,
My heart fulfil its vow,
Some off'ring bring thee now,
Something for thee.
O'er the blest mercy-seat
Pleading for me,
Upward in faith I look,
Jesus, to thee:
Help me the cross to bear,
Thy wondrous love declare,
Some song to raise, or prayer,
Something for thee.
Give me a faithful heart -
Likeness to thee,
That each departing day
Henceforth may see
Some work of love begun,
Some deed of kindness done,
Some wand'rer sought and won,
Something for thee.
All that I am and have -
Thy gifts so free -
Ever, in joy or grief,
My Lord, for thee:
And when thy face I see,
My ransomed soul shall be,
Through all eternity,
Something for thee.


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