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It Is Well With My Soul

Words: Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888)

Music: Philip P. Bliss (1838-1876)

#410, ’91 Baptist Hymnal

History Behind the Hymn

All information is from the book Then Sings My Soul – 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories by Robert J. Morgan.

 

This song was written in 1873 by Horatio G. Spafford, an attorney in Chicago, Illinois. In November of 1873, amidst stress caused by economic and emotional hardship due to the Chicago Fire of 1871, Spafford decided to travel to Europe with his wife and four daughters. Kept in New York by business, he sent them ahead on the French ocean liner Ville du Havre. On November 22, 1873, the Ville du Havre crashed into another ship and quickly sank. All four of Spafford’s daughter were killed, and his wife was found unconscious among the wreckage. When she finally made it to Europe, she cabled her husband two words: “Saved Alone.”

Devastated by his loss, Spafford booked passage to join his wife in Europe. While on the ship, the captain called him aside one night and told him, “I believe we are now passing the place where the Ville du Havre went down.” Unable to sleep, Horatio said to himself, “It is well; the will of God be done.” Those words formed the basis of this now classic hymn.

The music for this hymn was composed by famed hymn writer and evangelical song leader Philip P. Bliss, who titled the melody “Ville du Havre”, in memory of the tragedy that engendered the lyrics.

Lyrics

 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

 

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.

 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

 

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.

 

My sin — oh, the bliss of this glorious thought:

My sin, not in part, but the whole

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

 

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.

 

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,

The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,

“Even so,” it is well with my soul.

 

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.