Peace! Be Still

Words by Miss M. A. Baker Music by H. R. Palmer

"Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!

When a deep and comforting spiritual experience finds expression it will surely bring comfort to others, as this hymn has done many times. Miss Mary A. Baker has told of its origin:

Dr. Palmer requested me to prepare several songs on the subject of the current Sunday-school lessons. One of the themes was' Christ Stilling the Tempest.' It so expressed an experience I had recently passed through, that this hymn was the result. A very dear and only brother, a young man of rare loveliness and promise of character, had been laid in the grave, a victim of the same disease that had already taken father and mother. His death occurred under peculiarly distressing circumstances. He was more than a thousand miles away from home, seeking in the balmy air of the sunny South the healing that our colder climate could not give. Suddenly he grew worse. The writer was ill and could not go to him. For two weeks the long lines of telegraph wires carried back and forth messages between the dying brother and his waiting sisters, ere the word came which told us that our beloved brother was no longer a dweller on the earth. Although we mourned not as those without hope, and although I had believed on Christ in early childhood and had always desired to give the Master a consecrated and obedient life, I became wickedly rebellious at this dispensation of divine providence. I said in my heart that God did not care for me or mine. But the Master's own voice stilled the tempest in my unsanctified heart, and brought it to the calm of a deeper faith and a more perfect trust. Since then I have given much of my time and strength to active temperance work as a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Witnessing the unparalleled suffering that comes to sisters, wives and mothers through the legalized curse of our land, the rum traffic, which is yearly slaying its thousands and tens of thousands in their early manhood and hurrying them into dishonored graves, I have come to feel a keen sense of gratitude for the sweet memories left of my departed brother. God's way is best.

I supposed that the hymn had done its work and gone to rest. But, during the weeks when our nation kept watch by the bedside of our greatly beloved President Garfield, it was republished as especially appropriate to the time, and was sung at some of the many funeral services held throughout the United States. It is quite a surprise to me that this humble hymn should have crossed the seas and been sung in far distant lands to the honor of the Saviour's name."