STUDIES OF FAMILIAR HYMNS

Lewis Benson

STAND UP, STAND UP FOR JESUS

THE TEXT OF THE HYMN

1 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
   Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner,
   It must not suffer loss:
From victory unto victory
   His army He shall lead,
Till every foe is vanquished,
   And Christ is Lord indeed.
2 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
   The trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict
   In this His glorious day:
Ye that are men now serve Him
   Against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger,
   And strength to strength oppose.
3 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
   Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
   Ye dare not trust your own:
Put on the gospel armor,
   Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls, or danger,
   Be never wanting there.
4 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
   The strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle,
   The next the victor’s song:
To him that overcometh
   A crown of life shall be;
He with the King of Glory
   Shall reign eternally.

Rev. George Duffield, 1858

NOTE– Four verses of the original six. The text is taken from a leaflet printed by the author in 1883.

THE STORY OF THE HYMN

Very few hymns have had so pathetic an origin as this. Its author, the Rev. George Duffield, was a pastor in Philadelphia during the great revival of the winter of 1857 and the spring of 1858, which centered about the Noonday Prayer Meetings in Jayne’s Hall, under the charge of the Young Men’s Christian Association.

The real leader of the movement was a young Episcopalian clergyman, Dudley A. Tyng. Though not yet thirty years old, he was well known for his stand for interdenominational fellowship and for the fervor of his evangelical zeal. In Philadelphia, at the time, he was especially before the public eye, having but lately, after a contest with his vestry, precipitated by a sermon in opposition to slave-holding, been compelled to retire from the rectorship of the Church of the Epiphany. He had gone forth with those sympathizing with him, and preached in a public hall, establishing there the Church of the Covenant. The band of clergymen of various denominations gathered about him was united not only by zeal in carrying on “The Work of God in Philadelphia,” but also in admiration and affection for Mr. Tyng; and not the less so for their general feeling that “he had been persecuted.” Among these helpers was Mr. Duffield, a deeply attached friend, who thought Mr. Tyng “one of the noblest, bravest, manliest men I ever met.”

Athwart this fellowship and common work came the tragic interruption of Mr. Tyng’s death. On Tuesday, April 13th, 1858, he went from the study of his country home to the barn floor where a mule was at work treading a machine for shelling corn. As he patted the animal on the neck the sleeve of his study-gown became caught in the cogs of the wheel, wrenching and lacerating his arm, from the neck down, in a dreadful manner. It seems that mortification set in. In any event amputation, performed on the Saturday following, did no more than postpone the end. Mr. Tyng died on Monday, April 19th, 1858.

Early that morning, it being perceived that he was sinking, he was asked if he had any messages to send, among others, to the band of clergymen so devoted to him and the work. When able to rouse himself sufficiently, he responded with a short message, beginning with the words: “Tell them, ‘Let us all stand up for Jesus.’” It is evident that these words especially touched the already aroused feelings of his fellow-workers. Bishop MacIlvaine and the Rev. John Chambers quoted them at the funeral as their friend’s dying message. At one of the Jayne’s Hall meetings a poem was read from the platform by the Rev. Thomas H. Stockton, beginning:

Rev. Dudley A. Tyng
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“Stand up for Jesus! Strengthen’d by His hand,
Even I, though young, have ventured thus to stand;
But, soon cut down, as maim’d and faint I lie,
Hear, O my friends, the charge with which I die –
        Stand up for Jesus!”

And the Rev. Kingston Goddard, preaching to a great throng on the day after Mr. Tyng’s death, remarked: “I conceive that the whole of my brother’s teaching is contained in that grand and noble expression of heroism and devotion that fell from his lips in his dying hour– ‘Stand up for Jesus!’”

Mr. Duffield had been present at these services, but, with his own feelings deeply stirred by his friend’s tragic death, perhaps hardly needed such incentives to quicken the appeal of that dying message to his heart. On the Sunday following he preached to his own people from Ephesians 6:14, and read as the concluding exhortation of the sermon the verses of his now famous hymn, into which he had wrought the message of his friend.

The superintendent of his Sunday-school, Mr. Benedict D. Stewart, had them printed on a fly leaf; they were copied by religious papers; they appeared in The Sabbath Hymn Book (Congregational) that same year, and in the Supplement to The Church Psalmist (Presbyterian) in the next year. The hymn became a favorite of the soldiers during the Civil War, and is now sung in churches and Sunday-schools all over the land and in many foreign countries.

Long afterwards (in 1883) Dr. Duffield printed a leaflet containing his preferred text of the hymn, and also his recollections of its origin. This has been often quoted from, and forms the familiar history of the hymn. Dr. Duffield’s memory had retained its hold upon so much of the events as directly concerned himself, but it is plain that other dates and circumstances had become somewhat dimmed with the lapse of years. And the present writer has not hesitated to supplement and correct these recollections in the light of facts disclosed in the Memorial Volume published in the year of Mr. Tyng’s death, and especially in the touching Memorial Sermon of Mr. Tyng’s father (Stephen H. Tyng, D.D.), who was present during the closing days of his son’s life.

“A cob of corn from that ‘threshing-floor,’” we are told by Dr. Duffield’s son, in 1885, “has ever since hung on the study-wall of the author of the hymn.” The hymn itself seems to echo the voice of his friend: “Tell them, ‘Let us all stand up for Jesus,’” with his other words to those about him soon following, “Sing! Sing! Can you not sing?” 

THE AUTHOR OF THE HYMN

In the ministry of the American Presbyterian Church there have been three distinguished men named George Duffield. The first (1732-1790) was a patriot and chaplain in the Revolutionary army. His grandson, the second George Duffield (1796-1868), was a successful pastor at Carlisle, Philadelphia, and other places, and an able theologian, whose work on Regeneration met with the disapproval of his Presbytery. It was his son, the third George Duffield, who was the author of this hymn. “The author is not his father, Rev. George Duffield, D.D., the Patriarch of Michigan,” he found occasion to say after his hymn had become famous while his personality seemed obscured. “Neither is he his son, Rev. Samuel W. Duffield, ... now pastor of the Westminster Church, Bloomfield, N. J. [He] has not yet lost his identity, and claims to be his own individual self.”

He was born at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1818, was graduated from Yale College in 1837, and from Union Theological Seminary in 1840. In the same year he married, was ordained, and installed pastor of the Fifth Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, where he remained seven years. It was as pastor and preacher, rather than as scholar or man of letters, that Dr. Duffield spent his life. After leaving Brooklyn he was pastor of the First Church of Bloomfield, New Jersey, for four years. In 1851 he broke off a happy pastorate there to accept the call of the Central Presbyterian Church of the Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, with the expectation of finding in the great city an enlarged opportunity for usefulness. It seems quite certain that if he had not gone to Philadelphia we should never have had the hymn so closely connected with his experiences there. But to him, at the time, it must have seemed as though his going had been the mistake of his professional life. He found a mortgaged church building unfortunately located in a neighborhood from which the population was moving westward, a congregation reduced in numbers, disheartened, and unable to meet its financial obligations. Dr. Duffield’s Philadelphia pastorate was not wanting in spiritual results, but with the conditions threatening the continued life of his church he was not able to cope. Year by year the congregation grew less in numbers and resources. Dr. Duffield, however, held on until 1861, when he resigned his pastorate. His subsequent pastorates were of a less conspicuous character,– at Adrian, Michigan, for four years, at Galesburg, Illinois, for an equal period, and then at Saginaw City, Michigan.

His active service covered more than forty years. Dr. Duffield’s last years were lived in Bloomfield, with his son. The son, himself a poet, always recalled with pride that his hand had made the first “fair copy” of his father’s hymn for the press, and those who saw father and son together at Bloomfield, still speak of the reverence and love with which that same hand supported the father’s failing steps. But the son was first called, and it was more than a year before the father followed him. Dr. Duffield died at Bloomfield on July 6th, 1888, and his remains were buried at Detroit.

George Duffield at about the time of writing the hymn
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Dr. Duffield himself was a good soldier of Jesus Christ. He served so well and so long that at first thought it seems strange, even unjust, that he should now be remembered principally as the author of a hymn. But, after all, such a hymn is the flower of a man’s life, and holds the best he was and had. It is quite possible, too, that Dr. Duffield’s hymn is the crown of his labors for Christ. He helped hundreds while he lived, but how many thousands have been encouraged and inspired by his brave song!

SOME POINTS FOR DISCUSSION

(1) Why are military hymns so popular? And is it right that they should be? Was a recent critic justified in the remark that it seemed to him foolish for a company of primary school boys and girls to march singing of soldiering and battles?

(2) The original second and fifth verses were omitted from The Hymnal. Would either or both of them be any addition to the hymn as here printed? 

2 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
   The solemn watchword hear;
If while ye sleep He suffers,
   Away with shame and fear;
Where’er ye meet with evil,
   Within you or without,
Charge for the God of Battles,
   And put the foe to rout.
5 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
   Each soldier to his post;
Close up the broken column,
   And shout through all the host:
Make good the loss so heavy,
   In those that still remain,
And prove to all around you
   That death itself is gain.”

(3) The four verses in The Hymnal (and here) are exactly as the author wrote them. In many books the sixth line of verse one (“His army He shall lead”) reads, “His army shall be led.” This was originally a misprint, and was a great annoyance to the author. The change spoils both rhyme and sense, and needs no discussion.

In The Sabbath Hymn Book of 1858, and in most books since, the sixth line of verse three (“Each piece put on with prayer”) is altered to, “And, watching unto prayer.” Was the change justifiable, and is it an improvement? (Note Dr. Duffield’s words: “It is the author’s earnest wish that” the hymn “shall continue unaltered until the Soldiers of the Cross shall replace it by something better.”)

(4) The second verse of the hymn contains a paraphrase of the text of a sermon preached by Mr. Tyng at one of the Jayne’s Hall meetings. According to Dr. Duffield’s leaflet it was preached the Sunday before Mr. Tyng’s death (but he was then in a dying condition); according to the Memorial it was preached on March 30th. A great throng of young men was present, and Dr. Duffield says, “at least one thousand, it was believed, were ‘the slain of the Lord.’” What was the text of the sermon?

(5) Which of the familiar tunes to these words best expresses the spirit and sentiments of the hymn – Webb, Lancashire, or Greenland (see below)? This is an instance of a hymn making its way without the aid of a tune – the tune to which it was set in The Sabbath Hymn and Tune Book having been forgotten long ago, and none of those mentioned having been written for this hymn.

An autograph verse
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