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Jesse L. Holman's Hymns
By Henry S. Burrage, 1888
      Honorable Jesse L. Holman was born in Mercer County, Ky., October 22, 1783. When he was sixteen years of age he united with the Clear Creek Baptist church. For his life-work he directed his attention to the profession of law, and was admitted to the bar in Newcastle. On account of his opposition to slavery, he crossed the Ohio river, and made his home in Indiana, on a bluff to which he gave the name Verdestan, and where he continued to reside during the remainder of his life. In 1814, he was elected a member of the territorial legislature, and near the close of the same year he was made presiding judge for his district. Under the state government, in 1816, he was appointed a judge of the supreme court, a position which he filled with honor fourteen years. In 1831, he was a candidate for United States senator, and was defeated by a single vote. Four years later he was appointed United States district judge for Indiana, and in this office he continued until his death, March 28, 1842.

      Mr. Holman took a deep interest in missions, Sunday-schools, Bible and temperance work. In 1834, he was ordained, and on his circuits he frequently addressed large audiences upon topics connected with these enterprises. For many years he was a vice- president of the American Sunday-school Union. He was also president of the Western Baptist Publication and Sunday-school Society. For five years he was president of the Indiana Baptist Convention. He was also, from its organization, a member of the Indiana Baptist Education Society. His was an earnest, consecrated life, and he died at peace with his fellow-men and with God.

      In "Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs," compiled by Rev. Absalom Graves, 2d ed., 1829 (the first edition was published in 1825), is a hymn (263) by Mr. Holman, consisting of nine stanzas. It also appears in Miller's "Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs" (30th ed., 1842), Buck's "Baptist Hymn Book" (1842), and some other collections, but only six of the nine stanzas are inserted. The hymn is as follows:

Lord, in thy presence here we meet, May we in thee he found; O, make the place divinely sweet; O, let thy grace abound. Today the order of thy house We would in peace maintain; We would renew our solemn vows, And heavenly strength regain. Thy Spirit, gracious Lord, impart, Our faith and hope increase; Display thy love in every heart, And keep us all in peace. Let no discordant passions rise, To mar the work of love; But hold us in those heavenly ties, That bind the saints above. With harmony and union bless, That we may own to thee How good, how sweet, how pleasant it is When brethren all agree. May Zion's good be kept in view, And bless our feeble aim, That all we undertake to do, May glorify thy name. May every heart be now prepared To do thy high commands, And may the pleasures of the Lord Be prospered in our hands. Of those who thy salvation know Add to our feeble few; And may that holy number grow, Like drops of morning dew. Work in us by thy gracious sway, And make thy work appear, That all may feel, and all may say, The Lord indeed is here.

      Another hymn (79) by Mr. Holman, in the same collection, consists of eight stanzas, and commences,

      "Ho! all ye sons of sin and woe."


[Henry S. Burrage, Baptist Hymn Writers and Their Hymns, 1888. pp. 260-261. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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