"I had been driven in a friend's pony-carriage through some of the exquisite green lanes in Devonshire, wrote the author of this hymn the year before her death.We paused at Pennycross, attracted by a rural burial-ground, and went in to look at the graves. It was a place of such sweet, entire repose as to leave a lasting impression on the memory. There were no artificial walks or decorations, but the grass was very green, and there were no unsightly signs of neglect. On one of the stones were the words, ' Sleeping in Jesus.' It was in such entire keeping with the lovely and peaceful surroundings that it clung to my thoughts. On arriving at home I took a pencil and commenced writing the hymn, little thinking that it was destined to find so much favor, and that part of it would be inscribed on many tombstones."
Mrs. Mackay was born in Scotland, and died at Cheltenham, England, in 1887, at the age of eighty five. Her husband was a distinguished lieutenant colonel in the British army.