“The Preacher's Legacy”


"Oh, if poor sinners did but know How much for them I undergo, they would not treat me with contempt...." The preacher sets out to work in other areas, knowing that it will bring challenges. He hopes to go to heaven in the end

Supplemental text

Preacher's Legacy, The
  Complete text(s)

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From Louise Pound, American Ballads and Songs, #105, pp. 216-217.
From a manuscript copy made by "Mrs. Hinshaw" from the singing of
N. C. Johnson, circa 1879.

O, if poor sinners did but know
How much for them I undergo,
They would not treat me with contempt,
Nor curse me when I say "Repent."
Give credit now to what I say,
And mind it till the judgment day,
Of God I'm sent, to you I call,
The invitation is to all.

My loving brethren think it strange
That I should leave my dearest friends;
My sisters wonder where I am,
That I do not return to them.
My parents' house I bid adieu,
And on my journey I pursue,
To distant climes I now repair
To call poor sinners far and near.

Through storms of wind and rain and snow
Both day and night I have to go
To attend the appointments I have made,
Or find some place to lay my head.
Sometimes in open houses sleep
Or in some little place I creep,
I cannot sleep for want of clothes,
Smothered in smoke and almost froze.

I ofttimes with false brethren meet
Whose heart is full of vain deceit.
They seem quite pleasant at the first,
But of all friends they are the worst.
The roaring tempest beat with force,
And ofttimes drives me from my course.
But he who hears the sparrows' care
Protects and drives away my fear.

Sometimes with hunger I grow faint,
But travel on till almost spent,
Without a friend and helper nigh
But he who hears the ravens' cry.
When lo, I hear a glorious voice,
Saying, "Arise, in me rejoice!
Go to the earth's remotest bounds,
I'll be thy friend while foes surround."

And when my work is done below,
I hope to glory I shall go;
I'll take my lofty distant flight
To dwell with saints in endless light,
With all the happy pilgrims there,
And in God's kingdom have a share.
We'll shout and sing, our suffering o'er,
Where Christian friends will part no more.


The nineteenth century seems to have seen several of these "departing-preacher-tells-folks-what's-wrong" songs. Reading this piece, I thought of a Baptist preacher who was kicked out by his congregation for being too strict. - RBW

Cross references


  1. LPound-ABS, 105, pp. 216-217, "The Preacher's Legacy" (1 text)
  2. ST LPnd216 (Full)
  3. Roud #6560
  4. BI, LPnd216


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1922
Keywords: clergy travel
Found in: US