It is rare that a hymn has to be understood by its counterpoint with another text. Perhaps only something as familiar as Psalm 23 would make this possible. The hymn, by the American Mrs Love Maria Willis, does not contradict the psalm, as has sometimes been claimed. No more than the hymn does the psalm make claim to a life of ease. The key to the fullest understanding of the hymn is the change of tone in the two halves of each verse, marked in the first three by the word ‘but’. Barry Ferguson had his attention drawn to the stronger qualities of this hymn by a lady who had herself derived much strength from it, and who in 1987 lived in Cypress Court, Strood, Rochester-upon-Medway. His tune marks clearly the difference between the two halves of each verse.
from notes by Alan Luff © 1999