TO GOD BE THE GLORY
THE HYMN STORY
At the rate Fanny Jane Crosby wrote the poetical lyrics for hymns and gospel songs in her day, it is not surprising that it is often difficult to pin down the exact history of some of these hymns. By all accounts, this little lady who was blinded soon after her birth in 1820 wrote the lyrics to more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs.
We know that the composer of the tune, William Doane, included it in his Songs of Devotion in 1870. It is thought that Ira Sankey probably saw it there and then included it in his Sacred Songs and Solos in 1875. Sankey and Dwight Moody helped establish this hymn’s popularity through the revival meetings they conducted in Great Britain in the late 19th century.
All of that to say, it was a fairly obscure song in America and might have faded away completely except for the occurrence of an interesting chain of events. It had caught on in Britain and had become well-loved there. Over time it had been included in various British hymnals and song-books.
Close to a hundred years later, in 1954, Billy Graham was gearing up his London Crusade. Someone handed Cliff Barrows, Graham’s song-leader, a copy of one of these books with the suggestion that ‘To God Be the Glory’ be included in the song-book for the London Crusade. Graham was impressed by the tune and the audience’s enthusiastic rendition of it so he brought it home to the U.S. to use later in the year for his Nashville Crusade. Again, the audience response was engaging so he began to use it regularly in his crusades.
This exposure spread awareness of the song and its popularity increased. It is now widely-recognized and well-loved in the U.S. and is included in most modern hymnals.
William Howard Doane, who wrote this tune, was president of a large manufacturing firm, inventor, hymn writer, choral director, church leader and philanthropist. More than seventy patents are credited to him for innovations in woodworking machinery. Doane was a prolific composer of Christian hymn tunes. He edited forty-three collections of hymns and composed an estimated 2,300 works, including hundreds of original hymns and hymn settings. He is best known as a longtime collaborator of Fanny Crosby, having written music for an estimated 1,500 of Crosby's poems. At Mt. Auburn Baptist Church in Cincinnati's Mt. Auburn neighborhood, Doane served long tenures as superintendent of the Sunday school program and director of the choir. As a denominational leader, he headed the Ohio Baptist Convention Ministers Aid Society. He and Fanny died in the same year, 1915. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Howard_Doane
To God be the glory, great things He hath done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see.