I sang this hymn for the first time in The Free Trade Hall, in Manchester, in 1883, at one of Mr. Moody's meetings. The service was held at eight o'clock on a gloomy winter morning. The hall was densely crowded and filled with mist, so much so that the people could hardly be discerned at the farther end of the hall. I felt the need of something to brighten up the meeting, and then and there decided to launch this new song. It was received with much enthusiasm, and at once became a favorite of Mr. Moody's, and continued to be so until his death.
When the Roll is Called up Yonder
Word, by J. M. Black Music by J. M. Black
'When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be
no more, And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair."
“While a teacher in a Sunday-school and president of a young people's society, ”says the author of this hymn, ”I one day met a girl, fourteen years old, poorly clad and the child of a drunkard. She accepted my invitation to attend the Sunday-school, and joined the young people's society. One evening at a consecration-meeting, when members answered the roll call by repeating Scripture texts, she failed to respond. I spoke of what a sad thing it would be, when our names are called from the Lamb's Book of Life, if one of us should be absent; and I said, ' O God, when my own name is called up yonder, may I be there to respond!' I longed for something suitable to sing just then, but I could find nothing in the books. We closed the meeting, and on my way home I was still wishing that there might be a song that could be sung on such occasions. The thought came to me, ' Why don't you make it?' I dismissed the idea, thinking that I could never write such a hymn. When I reached my house my wife saw that I was deeply troubled, and questioned me, but I made no reply. Then the words of the first stanza came to me in full. In fifteen minutes more I had composed the other two verses. Going to the piano, I played the music just as it is found to-day in the hymn-books, note for note, and I have never dared to change a single word or a note of the piece since."