Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus is one of the popular Christian hymn. The text of the hymn was inspired by spiritual message of a noble young clergyman, Rev. Dudley Atkins Tyng, on his dying bed. The writer of the hymn, Dr. George Duffield caught its inspiration from the dying words of Rev. Dudley Atkins Tyng, rector of the Epiphany Church, Philadelphia, who died in 1858.
George Duffield was born on 12th of September, 1818 at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He attended Yale College where he graduated in 1837. Afterward, he further at Union Theological Seminary, New York and graduated in 1840.
He served as a Pastor at Presbyterian Brooklyn from 1840 to 1847; and also at the same church in Bloomfield, New Jersey from 1847 to 1852. George Duffield, was also a priest from 1852 to 1861 at Presbyterian church in Philadelphia and later at Adrian, Michigan from 1861 to 1865 and so on.
Story Behind the Hymn
Rev. Dudley Tyng who his dying word inspired the hymn writer was born into the family of Rev. Stephen H. Tyng on January 12, 1825. Rev. Stephen Tyng, the father of Rev. Dudley Tyng, was a priest at Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. Rev. Dudley Tyng has once function as an assistant priest to his father in the same church.
This was for a short period of time. However, he later rose to the post of the priest after he has successfully succeeded his father who retired. Dudley Tyng was known to be an outspoken person and committed abolitionist. Also, he was a dynamic and uncompromising preacher that has immense influence on religious leaders around him.
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Dudley stood up against slavery and preached strongly against it. Most of the member of his church has slaves and was totally against his ideology that slavery should be aborted because it was a sin to put their fellow being into slavery. Due to their interest in slavery at that time, the members of his church were absolutely sad about his open stand in opposition to slavery. As a result of this, they make contemptuous fun of him and also persecuted him for his blunt stance. Consequently, in 1856, the energetic advocate for the liberation of slaves, Rev Dudley Atkins Tyng resigned. He was followed by some member of the church and began The Church of the Covenant.
Besides starting the new church, Tyng also started the study meetings with other men of God at the local YMCA. This meeting is done during the noon time and gradually grow to thousands. However, in March of 1858, a revival was organized in order to reach out to more people about Christ.
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This revival was tagged “The Work of God in Philadelphia” and was massively attended. Around five thousand young men was said to be in attendance and as large as one thousand was recorded to proclaim their lives for Christ. During the revival, it was said that the young priest in his sermon vigorously proclaimed: “I would rather that this right arm was amputated at the trunk than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God’s message.”
Two weeks afterward, Rev. Dudley Tyng paid a visit to a barn on his farm. While he was watching a corn-thrasher in the barn he stretched his hand out to pat a mule working on a machine shelling corn. Unknowingly, his hand was too close to the machine that his sleeve was caught in the cogs and his arm was seriously torn off. This resulted in enormous loss of blood and subsequently his arm was amputated at the shoulder in order to save his life. On his dying bed, he finally told his father who was with him to stand up for Jesus. He also sent his father to tell his brethren of the ministry to stand up for Jesus.
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Eventually, the message to stand up for Jesus from Dudley was relayed to his people along with the heartbreaking news of his earthly departure. Dr. George Duffield, one of Dudley’s assistants and also the son of a renowned Presbyterian minister, was deeply moved emotionally by the dying words of Rev. Dudley Tyng that he penned down the poem Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus was a tribute poem he wrote for Rev Dudley.
On the Sunday that followed the funeral of Rev Tyng, Dr. George Duffield used Ephesians 6:14, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” to preached at Temple Presbyterian Church. Afterward, Duffield read out the text of the poem “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” to conclude his sermon.
The Sunday School overseer was really aroused by the text of the poem that he printed and shared the copies through the Sunday School classes of the church. Later, the text reached the editor of a Baptist newspaper and he printed it in his publication. This actually spread the hymn all across and paved a way for it into hymnals. However, the hymn became well-known when it was sung on the two sides during the Civil War.
Tune for The Hymn
There were several melodies written for the hymn Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. However, Morning Light, also known as Webb, is commonly used in most of the hymn Book available today. Morning Light was a tune composed by George James Webb. He was an English-American composer and composed the tune on his journey by the sea from England to the United States in 1837. Though the tune was for a secular song “Tis Dawn, the Lark is Singing,” which was published in The Odeon, a collection of secular music compiled by Webb and Lowell Mason.