Grace there is my every debt to pay

Grace there is my every debt to pay,
Blood to wash my every sin away,
Pow’r to keep me spotless day by day,
    In Christ for me.
Sven Ljungholm

Liverpool, United Kingdom

In 1889, Herbert (Booth), then commanding the Army through¬out the British Isles, was requested to compose a song for the Christmas Number of All the World. On a dark November night of that year the Major (Richard Slater) was sent to the Commandant to get the song. It was not ready and the need of copy was urgent. The Commandant was pacing up and down the room. Within him was still sounding the melody of the "song without words". Some verses had been composed but no chorus. As the Commandant paced to and fro there came slowly together the words—

The Founder’s Home

Barnet was historically interesting. A Wars of the Roses battle had been fought there and The Salvation Army's Founder, William Booth, had lived at nearby Hadley Wood. We sometimes took visitors to see it. It was at Hadley Wood that Booth (youngest son of William) had sought the songwriting help of Richard Slater, who must have lived reasonably close. Possibly inaccurately I often imagined Slater walking along the footpath by the railway line. That historically-recorded evening had seen the completion of Herbert's song 'Grace there is my Every Debt to Pay'.

The Major (Slater), at the request of the Commandant, played the tune upon the organ. "There was a halt"—writes the Major—"and then the vague feeling took a definite form in the clear-cut line—

Blood to wash my every sin away ;

which was again followed by hesitation, difficulty and effort. The tune still went on, and as the notes rose and fell the third line, with an eager hand, was hastily put on paper—

Power to keep me spotless day by day,

and, with a feeling of triumph won, the closing words were added— For me, for me.

And thus that wonderful chorus grew and went forth from the darkness of that November night to carry light and hope and warmth, with soul comfort to tens of thousands."