This week my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth sees the addition of a hymn from 1912 by Leila Morris. Leila was active in the Methodist church, camp meetings, and song writing, authoring more than 1,000 Gospel songs. When her eyes began to fail, her son built her a 28-foot blackboard with extra-large staff lines, which she used to continue composing. “Sweeter as the Years Go By” is from the early years of her blindness. I recall the song from my youth, though mainly just the first verse from that time. Interestingly enough, a favorite recording of the song is one I wouldn’t discover until many years later, and can be found on the Blind Willie Johnson album of the same title, Sweeter as the Years Go By. Lest I digress more fully into the works of Blind Willie Johnson, we need to step along to the lyrics to the hymn at hand.
Sweeter as the Years go By
Of Jesus’ love that sought me, when I was lost in sin;
Of wondrous grace that brought me back to His fold again;
Of heights and depths of mercy, far deeper than the sea,
And higher than the heavens, my theme shall ever be.
Sweeter as the years go by, sweeter as the years go by,
Richer, fuller, deeper, Jesus’ love is sweeter,
Sweeter as the years go by.
He trod in old Judea life’s pathway long ago;
The people thronged about Him, His saving grace to know;
He healed the broken hearted, and caused the blind to see;
And still His great heart yearneth in love for even me.
’Twas wondrous love which led Him for us to suffer loss,
To bear without a murmur the anguish of the cross;
With saints redeemed in glory, let us our voices raise,
Till Heav’n and earth re-echo with our Redeemer’s praise.