Eliza Hewitt was born in 1851. She graduated farewell from her class at Girl’s Normal School in Philadelphia and became a schoolteacher. But her teaching career ended early.
An angry student hit her on the back with a heavy slate, causing a severe and painful spinal injury. She was laid in a full cast for six months and was bedridden for quite a while after that.
During this time, Eliza developed a love for the Word of God and a desire to share its love. So she started singing and writing. She wrote children’s poems, Sunday school literature and children’s songs.
She never fully recovered though, eventually. Her condition improved enough that she could serve in Christian ministry where she remained committed to reaching children with the gospel message through Sunday School songs and hymns. She attended Methodist camp meetings in New Jersey where she worked on the hymn “When We All Go to Heaven.”
She was Sunday School Superintendent at the Northern Home for Friendless Children and an active member of the Mount Olivet Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. She developed a close friendship with Fanny Crosby, and they often met to share ideas about their songwriting.
When Eliza moved to another section of Philadelphia, she joined Calvin’s Presbyterian Church and served as the senior department’s Sunday School superintendent until her death in 1920, at the age of 68.
One of his songs, MORE ABOUT JESUS, caught the attention of John Sweeney who set it to music.
There are critics who complain that this song is too repetitive. But these are not idle repetitions. Eliza’s use of repetition makes an important distinction between materialistic and spiritually minded people.
The world demands more. They are gluttons for more fun, more food, more money, more attention, and more stuff. In contrast, the spiritual person thirsts for more of God and all things spiritual and eternal.
Paul, the apostle, wrote: “…what was gain to me I counted as loss to Christ. Yet, indeed, I also count all things as a loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and I count them as rubbish, in order to gain Christ and…that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…” (Phil. 3:7-10)
In her hymn, MORE ABOUT JESUS, Eliza Hewitt expressed this same kind of spiritual longing:
To know MORE about the Lord Jesus. To show MORE of His grace to others. To experience MORE of His saving fullness. To understand MORE of His love. To discern MORE of his will. To hear MORE of His Word. To enjoy MORE of his fellowship. And to anticipate MORE of his future glory.
Ralph M. Petersen and his wife, Kathy, are the owners of the OLDE TOWNE EMPORIUM at 212 E. Main St. in Rogersville, Tennessee. Your comments are welcome. You can contact him at [email protected] or by phone at (951) 321 9235.