My Faith Looks up to Thee

Words by Ray Palmer Music by Dr. Lowell Mason

"My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary."




"I gave form to what I felt," says Dr. Palmer, "by writing, with little effort, the stanzas. I recollect I wrote them with tender emotion and ended the last line with tears." He placed the manuscript in a pocketbook, and carried it there for some time. One day, in Boston, he met Dr. Lowell Mason, who inquired if Mr. Palmer had not some hymn to contribute to his new book. The pocket-book was produced and the hymn was brought to light. Dr. Mason took a copy of the song, and after reaching home was so much impressed with it that he wrote for it the famous tune "Olivet," to which it is usually sung. A short time after he met the author on the street and exclaimed:

"Mr. Palmer, you may live many years and do "many good things, but I think you will be best known to posterity as the author of ' My faith looks up to Thee.'"

The hymn was published in 1832, but did not at first receive much notice. The Rev. Andrew Reed, D.D., of Scotland—who wrote " Why not to-night? " for which I composed the music—found a copy of the hymn in a religious newspaper while traveling in this country, took it home, and published it anonymously in his hymn-book.

Dr. Palmer wrote me the following incident: "During the Civil War, and on the evening preceding a terrible battle, six or eight Christian young men, who were looking forward to deadly strife, met together in one of their tents for prayer. After spending some time in committing themselves to God and in Christian conversation, and freely speaking together of the probability that they would not all survive the morrow, it was suggested by one of the number that they should draw up a paper expressive of the feelings with which they went to stand face to face with death, and all sign it; and that this should be left as a testimony to the friends of such of them as might fall. This was unanimously agreed to. After consultation, it was decided that a copy of ' My faith looks up to Thee ' should be written out, and that each man should subscribe his name to it, so that father, mother, sister or brother might know in what spirit they laid down their lives. Of course, they did not all meet again. The incident was related afterward by one who survived the battle."