440

He Leadeth Me

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Difficult times occur in the lives and communities of God’s people because this is a fallen world. The confessions demonstrate this perspective:
  • Belgic Confession, Article 15 teaches that “…by the disobedience of Adam original sin has been spread through the whole human race…a corruption of the whole human nature...” As a result, God’s people are “guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all [our] ways” (Article 14). In addition, “The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt that they are enemies of God and of everything good. They lie in wait for the church and every member of it like thieves, with all their power, to destroy and spoil everything by their deceptions” (Article 12).
  • Our World Belongs to God continues to affirm that “God has not abandoned the work of his hands,” nevertheless “our world, fallen into sin, has lost its first goodness...” (paragraph 4). And now “all spheres of life—family and friendship, work and worship school and state, play and art—bear the wounds of our rebellion” (paragraph 16).
Yet, in a fallen world, God’s providential care is the source of great assurance, comfort and strength. Through these thoughts, our trust in God is inspired.
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13 is a reminder that God’s providence reassures us that God leads and governs all in this world “according to his holy will…nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement.” Further, this Confession identifies that this “gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father, who watches over us with fatherly care...in this thought we rest.”
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13, is a reminder that much is beyond human understanding and so “we do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what God does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 we testify that we “trust God so much that [we] do not doubt that he will provide whatever [we] need for body and soul and will turn to [our] good whatever adversity he sends upon [us] in this sad world.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 28, we are assured that through our trust in the providence of God we can have “good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.”
  • When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask not to be brought into the time of trial but rescued from evil. In doing so we ask that the Lord will “uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle...” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question and Answer 127)
Belgic Confession, Article 26 speaks about the intercession of Christ as the ascended Lord. “We have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” We, therefore, do not offer our prayers as though saints could be our intercessor, nor do we offer them on the “basis of our own dignity but only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.” Because Jesus Christ is our sympathetic High Priest, we approach the throne “in full assurance of faith.”
 
No greater assurance can be found than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “I am not my own by I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”
 

In all difficult times, we eagerly await the final day when God “will set all things right, judge evil, and condemn the wicked” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 57).

440

He Leadeth Me

Tune Information

Name
AUGHTON (HE LEADETH ME)
Key
D Major
Meter
8.8.8.8 D

Recordings

440

He Leadeth Me

Hymn Story/Background

Like the psalm on which it is based, this text confesses absolute trust in the Lord's guidance and care, a trust that is sufficient even for "the valley of the shadow of death" (st. 4). Joseph H. Gilmore noted the following about his writing of  this text:
 
I was supplying for a couple of Sundays the pulpit of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. At the midweek service of March 26, 1862, I set out to give the people an exposition of the 23rd Psalm, but I got no further than the words "He leadeth me." Those words took hold of me as they had never done before. I saw in them a significance and beauty of which I had never dreamed… At the close of the meeting a few of us kept on talking about the thoughts which I had empha­sized; and then and there, on a back page of my sermon notes, I penciled the hymn just as it stands today, handed it to my wife, and thought no more of it… She sent it without my knowledge to the Watchman and Reflector magazine, and there it first appeared in print December 4, 1862.
 
While visiting a church in Rochester, New York, in 1865, Gilmore saw his hymn in print for the first time set to William B. Bradbury's tune (see below). The text was also published in Gilmore's He Leadeth Me, and Other Religious Poems (1877).
 
After seeing Gilmore's text in the Boston Watchman and Reflector, William B. Bradbury composed AUCHTON for those words. Bradbury arranged the text into a stanza/refrain structure, added the final line of the refrain, and published the hymn in his The Golden Censor in 1864. AUCHTON (also known as HE LEADETH ME) means "unknown.”
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Educated at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, and Newton Theological Seminary, Newton, Massachusetts, Joseph H. Gilmore (b. Boston, MA, 1834; d. Rochester, NY, 1918) was ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1862. He served churches in Fisherville, New Hampshire, and Rochester, New York. In 1868 he was appointed to the English faculty at the University of Rochester, where he served until retirement in 1911. He published various literary works, including Outlines of English and American Literature (1905).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

William B. Bradbury (b. York, ME, 1816; d. Montclair, NJ, 1868) came from a musical family who encouraged him from an early age to learn to play various musical instruments. In 1830 his family moved to Boston. There he studied singing with Lowell Mason and sang in Mason's Bowdoin Street Church choir. In 1841 Bradbury moved to Brooklyn, New York, and became the organist at the Baptist Tabernacle in New York City. He organized children's singing classes, which developed into annual singing festivals and stimulated the teaching of music in the New York public schools. In 1854 William joined his brother Edward and a German piano maker to begin a piano firm, which became the Bradbury Piano Company. Bradbury wrote or edited sixty collections of popular music and edited and published numerous song books, including The Psalmodist (1844) and Golden Shower of Sunday School Melodies (1862). He is sometimes known as "the father of Sunday school hymnody."
— Bert Polman
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