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Tenderly Jesus is Calling
When the world-renowned lay
preacher, Dwight Lyman Moody, lay on his death bed in his
Northfield, Massachusetts, home, Will Thompson made a
special visit to inquire as to his condition. The
attending physician refused to admit him to the sickroom,
and Moody heard them talking just outside the bedroom door.
Recognizing Thompson’s voice, he called for him to come to
his bedside. Taking the Ohio poet-composer by the hand, the
dying evangelist said, “Will, I would rather have written
‘Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling’ than anything I
have been able to do in my whole life.”
Rebuffed in an early attempt to sell
his songs to a commercial publisher, Thompson started his
own publishing company. He later expanded, opening a
store to sell pianos, organs and sheet music. Both a
lyricist and composer, he ensured he would always
remember words or melodies that came to him at odd times:
No matter where I am, at home or
hotel, at the store or traveling, if an idea or theme comes
to me that I deem worthy of a song, I jot it down in verse. In
this way I never lose it.
Thompson took ill during a tour of
Europe, and his family cut short their travels to return home. He
died a few weeks later.
Lyrics by William Thompson
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!
Why should we tarry when Jesus is
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?
Time is now fleeting, the moments
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.
O for the wonderful love He has
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.