- He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.
- Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
- Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
- And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.
He was preparing to preach a sermon on Psalm 23 and got stuck on the line "He leadeth me". This was a sermon he had preached on several times before, but this time he was stuck on the enormity of the thought that "God leads us".
After the sermon, he and some colleagues got into a discussion about God's divine guidance, and in the process Glimore wrote this poem. Gave to his wife and promptly forgot all about it.
His wife thought the words would be a blessing to others, and so sent the words into "the Watchman and Reflector" where they were published. William Bradbury saw the lines and put them to music, which led to their inclusion into a baptist hymnal. Gilmore only learned about this when he went to preach a trial sermon at the Second Baptist Church in Rochester.
Gilmore taught for many years at the University of Rochester in New York and authored several books on literature. He also worked as a professor of Hebrew. For a while he as a pastor at a Baptist church in Fisherville, New Hampshire. He penned text for a few other hymns, but none have had the enduring quality of "He Leadeth Me".