Elizabeth Stuart Phelps' “The Gates Ajar, ”which aroused so much criticism a generation ago, suggested to Mr. Bliss the need of this hymn. The Scripture teaching that we shall be ”with the Lord” he deemed sufficient for spiritual contentment, offsetting the ”I know not” of speculation by the ”I know” of faith. Mr. McGranahan was visiting Mr. Bliss at that time. Bliss handed the words to him, asking what he could get for a tune. McGranahan worked upon it a long time without success, making harmonies and trying to satisfy himself with something that would properly express the words. When supper-time came he did not care to eat. At bedtime they all went to their rooms, leaving him in the parlor at the piano. Finally, dissatisfied with the result, he threw himself on the floor and fell into a doze. Suddenly he awoke, and the tune, chorus and all, had come—different from the harmonies he had worked upon. When he sang it to Bliss in the morning he was delighted with it, and immediately adopted it for use.
A wealthy Quaker lady heard this hymn in Newcastle-on-Tyne, sung in connection with Mr. Moody's lecture upon ”Heaven. ”She was so much impressed by it that she went home and induced her husband to attend the meetings. She soon became one of the most successful workers in our subsequent meetings there and in London, taking lodgings near so as to more efficiently work in the inquiry-meetings.
At the time Mr. Bliss and his wife were lost in the railroad accident at Ashtabula I was living in a hotel in Chicago. I had engaged a room near mine for him, and was awaiting his arrival, when a friend came into my room and, putting his hand on my shoulder, said, ”Bliss is dead.” The next Sunday we held a great memorial service in the Tabernacle, to give expression to our sorrow. While I was singing ”That will be Heaven for Me ”as a solo, the two small crowns of flowers which had been placed in front of the organ on the platform were taken away, as it was discovered that their two little children, Paul and George, who were supposed to have been lost with their parents, had been left at home at Towanda, Pennsylvania, and were safe.