I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able ~ 2 Timothy 1:12
The Golden Age of Gospel music included Ira Sankey, Fanny Crosby, Philip Bliss, and many others. Also on that list is Major Daniel Whittle. He was born in 1840, in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts and died March 4, 1901, at his daughter’s home in Northfield, Massachusetts. Coincidently, Northfield was his longtime friend D. L. Moody’s home. He had died there on December 22, 1899.
Whittle served in the Civil War with one loss and one gain. He lost his sword arm in the Battle of Vicksburg. He gained the title of Major which he was known by the rest of his civilian life. After the War he worked as treasurer of the Elgin Watch Company in Chicago. He struck up a friendship with D. L. Moody who persuaded Whittle to become a full-time evangelist like himself. Whittle did and his first song leader was P. P. Bliss. Back in that time their team was as well-known as Moody and Sankey.
Besides preaching, Whittle also wrote songs. Some of his well-known ones are “Have You Any Room For Jesus?” - “There Shall Be Showers of Blessing” - “Moment By Moment.”
Whittle was converted after reading a Bible he found in a Confederate prison where he had been taken prisoner. He wrote this hymn a few years later as a testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ. It was first published in 1883. The melody was composed by James McGranahan, a former opera singer, who had succeeded P. P. Bliss as Whittle’s song leader after Bliss' death in a tragic train wreck.
One can only imagine what the conditions were in that Confederate prison. But from that experience came Major Whittle's words . . .
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
But I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.
- Daniel W. Whittle, 1883
Copied from Sing to the Lord © 1993 by Lillenas Publishing Company
Hymn commentary courtesy J. D. Sherrow