Away back in 1867 this hymn was written and dedicated to the Young Men's Christian Associations of America. For many years I used it both in Great Britain and America. Many testimonies have been given of the blessing it has brought to young men who have heard it sung.
“I have a young men's Bible-class,” writes a Christian worker in Rotherham, England.” Some years ago one of my scholars brought a stranger to the class, who had just come to our town on business. He continued to attend very regularly for about a year. Having obtained a better business appointment in a distant town, he told me before leaving the class that when he first arrived he had fully made up his mind to shake himself free from all religious influence; as he had come to a strange town where no one knew him, he would enjoy himself any way he chose. But he consented to attend the class just once. The first hymn sung was, 'Oh, what-are you going to do, brother? Say, what are you going to do?' He could not get it out of his head all the week, and it was the means of entirely setting aside his intentions. On arriving at his new home he immediately united with a Christian church. His steady, consistent life won for him further promotion in business, and he now fills a position of usefulness and responsibility in an important town. All the good he had received he attributed to that hymn on the first Sunday of his residence here."