The Precious Name -Lydia Baxter


 Many inspiring hymns and gospel songs have been written by someone who experienced illness or some disability. One such author was Lydia Baxter, who was born in 1809 in New York. A Baptist home missionary led her to the Lord, and she and her sister helped to establish the Baptist Church in Petersburg, New York. Soon after her marriage, she suffered from a serious disease that left her an invalid and confined her to bed for days at a time. Her home became a gathering place for evangelists, preachers, and other Christian workers, and despite her condition, she offered inspiration and counsel to those who visited her. Hymnologist Kenneth Osbeck noted, “Her friends used to say that a visit to her sickroom was not so much to give her encouragement and comfort as to receive some buoyancy for their own spirits.”

Mrs. Baxter was a student of the Bible and especially enjoyed studying the meanings of the names of Bible characters. Of all the biblical names she knew, the name of Jesus meant the most to her. When asked about the secret of her cheerful spirit, she would reply, “I have a very special armor. I have the name of Jesus. 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 Precious Name” was written in 1870, 4 years before the author’s death in 1874. In some hymnals, the title is taken from the first line, “Take the Name of Jesus With You.” She wrote a number of other hymns, but this is the only one commonly sung today. William H. Doane composed the music for the text and published it in the hymnal “Pure Gold for the Sunday School” in 1871. The hymn became popular during the Moody-Sankey evangelistic crusades in the late-19th century.

The words of “The Precious Name” express the comfort and the power found in Jesus’ name.  Stanza 3 describes the relationship between Jesus and His believers: “When His loving arms receive us.”  The precious name of Jesus is the only hope of heaven.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12). The last stanza is a scene from heaven when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confesses Who Jesus Christ is. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11).


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.
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.
Take the name of Jesus ever,
As a shield from ev’ry snare;
If temptations ‘round you gather,
Breathe that holy name in prayer.
Oh! the precious name of Jesus;
How it thrills our souls with joy,
When his loving arms receive us,
And his songs our tongues employ!
At the name of Jesus bowing,
Falling prostrate at his feet,
King of kings in heav’n we’ll crown him,
When our journey is complete.


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