Joseph Swain (1761-1796)

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Hymns #65, 80, 202, 266.
Joseph Swain was born in 1761 at Birmingham, England and was left an orphan early in life. He went to work as an apprentice to an engraver. The world had a strong attraction to him and he was fond of wild and gay social life. His ability to write songs was used for the benefit of his worldly companions. He also wrote some plays. But God’s eye was upon him for good and he had some serious thoughts. He bought a Bible and read it, and as a result he was led from darkness to Light. This took place in May 1783. He became a useful and active Christian. In 1791 he took charge of a mission work in East Street, Walworth, London.
How we have often enjoyed his hymn #202, “What will it be to dwell above?” The sufferings of Christ and our contemplation of Him are aptly set forth in hymn #65, “O how the thought that I shall know the Man that suffered here below!”
He was not very strong, and after a two weeks’ illness, on April 14, 1796, in the 35th year of his age, he heard the call of “His celestial voice” that made his “enraptured heart rejoice” (see hymn #65).
“Christ the Lord will come again,
None shall wait for Him in vain;
We shall then His glory see,
His Who died to set us free.
“‘This is our redeeming God!’
Ransomed hosts will shout aloud;
‘Praise, eternal praise be given
To the Lord of earth and heaven’.”