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GOSPEL TRUTH: “When He Cometh”

W. Cushing’s first Hymn…..


William Orcutt Cushing was born in the United States of America in Hingham, Massachusetts, on the 31st December 1823. He felt called to serve the Lord and trained to be a Christian minister. When he was 33 years of age he wrote his first hymn, When He cometh, for the children in his Sunday School. After caring devotedly for his ill wife who passed away in July 1870, William Cushing also became incapacitated through a form of paralysis and was forced to retire from Christian ministry. Believing that there was still work to do for the Lord, he sought guidance for the way ahead. In the years that followed, although laid aside, he was enabled to write over 300 hymns, many of which are still in use today. His fruitful ministry for the Lord came to an end on the 19th October 1902 when the Lord called His servant Home.


His first hymn was inspired by the words of Malachi 3:17: “And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them …” The tune for the hymn was composed by George Root and is aptly called Jewels.



Malachi lived at a time when the spiritual temperature was low. Judah’s religious activities did not please the Lord. Disobedience and hypocrisy abounded on every hand. But God, as always, had His remnant in that dark day. There were a few who truly “feared the LORD” and conversed with one another (Mal.3:16). They loved the Lord and sought to please Him. The Lord took notice of these devout folk, recording their names in His book. He referred to them as His “jewels” and promised to spare them from the judgment which would fall upon the ungodly. William Orcutt Cushing had these believers in mind when he composed his hymn.


When He cometh, when He cometh,

To make up His jewels,

All His jewels, precious jewels,

His loved and His own.


Like the stars of the morning,

His bright crown adorning,

They shall shine in their beauty,

Bright gems for His crown.


Jewels are items of value. They are precious treasures. The Lord has “jewels” which belong to Him, and one day He will “make up” those jewels which will form His crown. Malachi was looking ahead to a day of blessing when the Lord would take up His people and preserve them from coming judgment. With the New Testament available to us, we can appreciate more. The Lord Jesus is coming again for His people who are “His jewels” and treasures. They are “His loved” because He died to make them “His own”. Paul could write of “the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20).  The Lord Jesus is “the bright and morning star” (Rev.22:16). His people will resemble Him in that coming day and will shine with the beauty which He has bestowed upon them.



He will gather, He will gather,

The gems for His kingdom:

All the pure ones, all the bright ones,

His loved and His own.


The structure of the hymn is very simple with the first phrase of each verse being repeated. There is also an element of repetition in the third line of each verse, while the fourth line of all three verses contains the identical words, “His loved and His own”. This is an excellent way of impressing truth upon the minds of children. The second verse highlights the fact that “the gems” are those who have been cleansed from their sins by the Saviour and are thus “the pure ones”.



Little children, little children

Who love their Redeemer,

Are the jewels, precious jewels,

His loved and His own.


Adults as well as children can appreciate the simplicity of the words. But “little children” are included and by simple faith can trust in the work of the Redeemer. Those who do, become “precious” to Him. The call still goes out: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).