"Keeping the Hymns Close By"

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus


Author and Composer - Helen H Lemmel, 1864 - 1961


If ye the be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1 - 3

The author and composer of this hymn, Helen H. Lemmel, relates that one day, in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled "Focused." The pamphlet contained these words: "So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness."

These words made a deep impression upon Helen. She could not dismiss them from her mind. She recalls the experience following the reading of this tract:

Suddenly as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.

The hymn was first published, in 1918, in the form of a pamphlet in London, England. Four years later, it was included in a collection titled, Glad Songs, a book containing sixty-seven songs of Mrs. Lemmel. This hymn because especially popular that same year at the Keswick Bible Conference in northern England, where it was first introduced. It first appeared in the United States, in 1924, in a song collections called, Gospel Truth in Song, published by Harry Clarke in Chicago, IL. The song has been included in most evangelical hymnals and has been translated into many languages around the world. Helen Howarth Lemmel was born on November 14, 1864, in Wardle, England. She was the daughter of a pastor, and she came to the United States with her family at the age of twelve. She was a singer, even studying private voice in Germany for four years. She traveled widely throughout the Midwest during the early 1900's giving concerts in many churches. Later, Mrs. Lemmel taught voice at the Moody Bible Institute and then at the Bible Institute in Los Angeles. . In addition to being known as a singer and musician, Mrs. Lemmel was also widely recognized as a woman with remarkable literary ability. She wrote more than 500 hymns and poems. She also authored a book for children entitled, Story of the Bible and composed many children's musical pieces. She remained active for God in her musical and literary pursuits, until her home-going at the age of ninety-seven.


Taken from 101 Hymn Stories Copyright © 1982, 2012 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.






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