Hymn: Is Your All on the Altar?

Elisha Hoffman’s hymns hold a special place in our evangelical hymnals alongside the uplifting melodies and edifying words written by well-known hymnists like Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Ira Sankey, Robert Lowry, and others. “Is Your All on the Altar?” is a congregational singing favorite at Salem Bible Church because it reminds us of the Biblical identification truths in Romans chapter 6, John chapter 15 and elsewhere that teach the way to sanctification through the believer’s death to self and complete surrender to God’s will.

Is Your All on the Altar?

by Elisha Hoffman *

You have longed for sweet peace,

And for faith to increase,

And have earnestly, fervently prayed.

But you cannot have rest,

Or be perfectly blest,

Until all on the altar is laid.


Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?

Your heart does the Spirit control?

You can only be blest,

And have peace and sweet rest,

As you yield Him your body and soul.

Would you walk with the Lord

In the light of His Word,

And have peace and contentment alway?

You must do His sweet will

To be free from all ill–

On the altar your all you must lay. [Refrain]

Oh, we never can know

What the Lord will bestow

Of the blessings for which we have prayed,

Till our body and soul

He doth fully control,

And our all on the altar is laid. [Refrain]

Who can tell all the love

He will send from above,

And how happy our hearts will be made,

Of the fellowship sweet

We shall share at His feet

When our all on the altar is laid! [Refrain]

* Elisha Hoffman (1839-1929) was the son of an Evangelical minister and grew up singing sacred hymns both in church and in the home with his parents. Hoffman furthered his education at Union Seminary in New Berlin, Pennsylvania, and was subsequently ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1873. Following his seminary education, Hoffman began work with the publishing branch of the Evangelical Association in Cleveland, Ohio. After serving in this position for eleven years, he held several pastoral positions in the Midwest. He pastored churches in both Cleveland and Grafton, Ohio, in the 1880s; moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan and the First Presbyterian Church in the mid-1890s; and finished his ministry in Cabery, Illinois from 1911-22. He died in 1929 in Chicago, Illinois.

During the course of his life, Hoffman composed over 2,000 hymns, and edited over 50 song books, including: Spiritual Songs for Gospel Meetings and the Sunday School, 1878; Temperance Jewels, 1879); Bells of Victory, 1888; Favorite Gospel Songs: A Tune Book, 1894; and Jubilant Voices, 1907.

You will recognize the following as some of his most popular hymns:

    • “Are You Washed in the Blood?” words

    • “Christ Has for Sin Atonement Made,” words & music

    • “Down at the Cross,” words

    • “Glory to His Name,” words

    • “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!” words

    • “I Must Tell Jesus,” words and music

    • “Is Your All on the Altar?” words and music

    • “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” words

    • “What a Fellowship,” words

    • “What a Wonderful Savior,” words and music

Self-denial and Contentment

Jeremiah Burrough’s thoughts on self-denial as the path to contentment needs some explanation. The Biblical concept that he termed self-denial at the turn of the 17th century is the theological term we would today call co-crucifixion from verses in Romans Chapter six and Galatians 2:20.

To be very clear, Biblical self-denial is NOT the practice of the ancient Greek philosophers – asceticism, cynicism, or stoicism. It is NOT abstinence from material objects or denial of worldly pleasures in order to achieve some spiritual goal or benefit. It is not the payment of some indulgence or performance of an outward penance as taught by religion. Paul taught in Romans 14:5-6, Colossians 2:20-23. and elsewhere that not eating or drinking things has no spiritual value. A painful ritual or elaborate religious ceremony will never gain favor with God. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)

The Biblical principle of spiritual self-denial IS surrendering ourselves completely to God and His will. Self (the flesh) and the world (Galatians 5:24; 6:14) are reckoned dead on the cross and alive unto God. (Romans 6:6-18)

With that in mind, Jeremiah Burroughs offers us these gems on how self-denial brings us closer to spiritual contentment:

“Just as no one can be a scholar unless he learns his ABCs, so you must learn the lesson of self-denial or you can never become a scholar in Christ’s school, and be learned in this mystery of contentment. The lesson of self-denial is the first lesson that Jesus Christ teaches those who are seeking contentment.”

“When you strike something soft it makes no noise, but if you strike a hard thing it makes a noise. So it is with the hearts of men who are full of themselves and hardened with self-love. A self-denying Christian yields to God’s hand and makes no noise. That is the first lesson that Christ teaches any soul—self-denial—which brings contentment, which brings down and softens a man’s heart.”

  1. A person must learn that he is nothing—“He comes to this, to be able to say, ‘Well, I see I am nothing in myself.’”

  2. I deserve nothing—“I am nothing and I deserve nothing. We deserve nothing and therefore why should we be impatient if we do not get what we desire?”

  3. I can do nothing—“Christ said, ‘Without me you can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) Consider of what use you are in the world and if you consider what little need God has of you, and what little use you are, and you will not be much discontented.”

  4. I cannot receive any good—“I am so vile that I cannot of myself receive any good. I am not only an empty vessel, but a corrupt and unclean vessel that would spoil anything good that comes into it.”

  5. We are worse than nothing—“Sin makes us more vile than nothing and contrary to all good. We are not empty pitchers in respect of good, but we are like pitchers filled with poison and is it much for such as we are to be cut short of our outward comforts?”

  6. Any good I do is nothing without God—If God cleans our vessel and puts in something good, some grace of His Spirit, we can do nothing with it without God.”

  7. If we perish, we will be no loss—If God should annihilate me, what loss would it be to His purposes? God can raise up someone else in my place to serve Him in a different way.” [See Esther 4:14]

“I beseech you to notice this: If a man is selfish and self-love prevails in his heart, he will be glad of those things that suit with his own ends, but a godly man who has denied himself will suit with and be glad of all things that shall suit with God’s ends. When a man is selfish, he cannot but have a great deal of trouble and vexation of spirit, for if I regard myself, my ends are so narrow that a hundred things will come and jostle me and I cannot have room in those narrow ends of my own. Those whose hearts are enlarged and make public things their ends, and can deny themselves, have room to walk and never jostle with one another as others do.”


Hymn: At Calvary

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

At Calvary

by William R. Newell *

Years I spent in vanity and pride,

Caring not my Lord was crucified,

Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.


Mercy there was great and grace was free,

Pardon there was multiplied to me,

There my burdened soul found liberty – At Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned–

Then I trembled at the Law I’d spurned,

Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.


Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus ev’rything,

Now I gladly own Him as my King,

Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary.


O the love that drew salvation’s plan!

O the grace that brought it down to man!

O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.



* William R. Newell (1868-1956) was born in Savannah, OH. He earned degrees from Wooster College, Princeton and Oberlin Theological Seminary. He served as Assistant Superintendent of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. The words for his hymn “At Calvary” came to him on his way to teach a class at the Bible Institute. He slipped into an empty classroom and wrote them quickly on the back of an envelope.

Holocaust Remembrance Day – 2021

More days of trouble will surely come, but God has promised that He will never forsake His people, Israel. The Apostle Paul stated in his epistle to the Romans, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not!” Likewise, God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah,

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever.”  Jeremiah 31:35

The Hebrew name of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance DayYom Hashoah (יום השואה), comes from Zephaniah 1:15. When describing the devastating destruction of YerushalayimTzefanya refers to that day as yom shoah umishoah (יום שואה ומשואה), ‘A day of calamity and desolation’. Yom Hashoah was established by the Israeli Knesset in memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II. It coincides with the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, remembering not only the destruction of European Jewry, but also the heroic revolt which serves as a symbol of defiance against oppression. Yom Hashoah is commemorated in Israel with a siren that is sounded in the morning, bringing everyone, even highway traffic, to a standstill for a minute of silence in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. Memorial ceremonies are held throughout Israel, and entertainment establishments are closed in the evening, to focus on the solemness of the day.  Source: http://theisraelbible.com

There is a wonderful future hope for Israel and its people in the Messiah’s new covenant. Like all of God’s promises, this too will surely come to pass:

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD,

that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers

in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt;

which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel;

After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts,

and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother,

saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me,

from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD:

for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34


Contentment in the Strength of Another

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Jeremiah Burroughs continues on the mysteries of contentment… “There is still a further mystery, for I hope you will find this a very useful point and that before we have finished you will see how simple it is for one who is skilled in religion to get contentment, though it is hard for one who is carnal.

“I say that another mystery in contentment is this: A gracious heart has contentment by getting strength from Jesus Christ; he is able to bear his burdens by getting strength from someone else. Now this is a riddle, and it would be counted ridiculous in the schools of the philosophers to say. If there is a burden on you you must get strength from someone else.

“A Christian finds satisfaction in every circumstance by getting strength from another, by going out of himself to Jesus Christ, by his faith acting upon Christ, and by bringing the strength of Jesus Christ into his own soul, he is thereby enabled to bear whatever God lays on him, by the strength that he finds from Jesus Christ.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

 “…strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Colossians 1:11

“Indeed, our afflictions may be heavy, and we cry out, ‘Oh, we cannot bear them, we cannot bear such affliction!’ Though you cannot tell how to bear with your own strength, yet how can tell what you will do with the strength of Jesus Christ? You say you cannot bear it? So you think that Christ could not bear it?

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted [tested, tried] as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

“But if Christ could bear it, why may you not come to bear it? You will say, ‘Can I have the strength of Christ?’ Yes, it is made over to you by faith: the Scripture says that the Lord is our strength, God himself is our strength and Christ is our strength.”

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

“Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:4


Father, forgive them…

A Sermon Delivered October 24th, 1869,


at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Luke 23:34

OUR LORD was at that moment enduring the first pains of crucifixion; the executioners had just then driven the nails through his hands and feet. He must have been, moreover, greatly depressed, and brought into a condition of extreme weakness by the agony of the night in Gethsemane, and by the scourgings and cruel mockings which he had endured all through the morning, from Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, and the Praetorian guards. Yet neither the weakness of the past, nor the pain of the present, could prevent him from continuing in prayer. The Lamb of God was silent to men, but he was not silent to God. Dumb as sheep before her shearers, he had not a word to say in his own defense to man, but he continues in his heart crying unto his Father, and no pain and no weakness can silence his holy supplications. Beloved, what an example our Lord herein presents to us! Let us continue in prayer so long as our heart beats; let no excess of suffering drive us away from the throne of grace, but rather let it drive us closer to it.

Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14 (NKJV)


When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

by Isaac Watts *

When I survey the wondrous cross

on which the Prince of glory died,

my richest gain I count but loss,

and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast

save in the death of Christ, my God!

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them through his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,

sorrow and love flow mingled down.

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

that were a present far too small.

Love so amazing, so divine,

demands my soul, my life, my all.


* Isaac Watts (1674-1748) was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, UK. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. It was his residence in Abney Park that was most favorable for his poor health, and for the prosecution of his literary labors. He did not retire from ministerial duties, but preached as often as his delicate health would permit.

The number of Watts’ publications is very large. His collected works, first published in 1720, embrace sermons, treatises, poems and hymns. His Horae Lyricae was published in December, 1705. His Hymns appeared in July, 1707. The first hymn he is said to have composed for religious worship, is “Behold the Glories of the Lamb,” written at the age of twenty. It is as a writer of psalms and hymns that he is everywhere known. Some of his hymns were written to be sung after his sermons, giving expression to the meaning of the text upon which he had preached. Montgomery calls Watts “the greatest name among hymn-writers,” and the honor can hardly be disputed. His published hymns number more than eight hundred.



The Dew of God’s Blessing

“A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”  Psalm 133

Jeremiah Burroughs likens the blessings of God to the refreshing dew that covers lush vegetation in the morning. This refreshing mist is given to us freely by God as a blessing from His hand. How can we not be content with whatever He has graciously given us, whether much or little?

The contented Christian lives upon the dew of God’s blessing. The simile of a grasshopper describes the contented man, and says he has this motto, ‘I am content with what I have, and hope for better.’ The grasshopper leaps and skips up and down and lives on the dew. A grasshopper does not live on the grass as other things do; you do not know what it feeds on. Other things though as little as grasshoppers , feed upon seeds or little flies and such things, but as for the grasshopper, you do now know what it feeds upon. In the same way, a Christian can get food that the world does not know of; he is fed in a secret way by the dew of the blessings of God.”

What we have from God is a token of His love for us. “If a king were to send a piece of meat from his own table, it would be a great deal more pleasant to a courtier than if twenty dishes as an ordinary allowance; if the king sends even a little thing and says, ‘Go and carry it to that man as a token of my love,’ Oh, how delightful that would be to him!”

What we have from God is sanctified to us for good. “Other men have what they enjoy in the way of common providence, but the saints have it in a special way. There is a secret dew that goes along with it: the dew of God’s love. A gracious heart has what he has free of cost; he is not called to pay for it. Grace shows a man that what he has, he has free of cost, from God as from a Father, and therefore it must needs be very sweet. A godly man may very well be content, though he has only a little, for what he does have he has by right of Jesus Christ, by the purchase of Jesus Christ.”

Every bit of bread you eat, if you are a godly man or woman, Jesus Christ has bought it for you. You have it at the hands of men for money, but Christ has bought it at the hand of His Father. Certainly it is a great deal better and sweeter now, though it is but a little.” Indeed, even with few possessions or comforts,  “…godliness with contentment is great gain.” II Timothy 6:6


Hymn: God Is Still On The Throne


Our learning about spiritual contentment was strained during the past year. The forces of a Covid-19 pandemic and racial/political turmoil in our country strained emotions almost to the breaking point. It was easy to complain about isolated living conditions, financial problems, loss of employment, and seismic changes in our society. How easy it was to settle into a rut of self-pity, discontent and general dissatisfaction with life!

That was until the psalm of Asaph came to mind. The psalmist despaired of a different sort of social upheaval: the wicked and powerful prospered while the godly suffered. How could God allow this? Weren’t the godly supposed to be blessed? Then he met with God in the temple and it all came into focus! The prosperity of the powerful and oppressive was only temporary. When the wicked reach the end of their lives, they will face the terror of God’s everlasting judgment and the godly will prosper in God’s Kingdom.

“A Psalm of Asaph:

Truly God is good to Israel,

even to such as are of a clean heart.

But as for me, my feet were almost gone;

my steps had well nigh slipped.

For I was envious at the foolish,

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

–  –  –

When I thought to know this,

it was too painful for me;

Until I went into the sanctuary of God;

then understood I their end.

Surely thou didst set them in slippery places:

thou castedst them down into destruction.

How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment!

they are utterly consumed with terrors.”

Psalm 73:1-3, 16-18


God is Still on the Throne

by Kittie L. Suffield *

Have you started for glory and heaven,

Have you left this old world far behind;

In your heart is the Comforter dwelling,

Can you say, :Praise the Lord, He is mine;”

Have the ones that once walked on the highway,

Gone back, and you seem all alone?

Keep your eyes on the prize, for the home in the skies.

God is still on the throne.


God is still on the throne,

And He will remember His own;

Though trials may press us and burdens distress us,

He never will leave us alone;

God is still on the throne,

He never forsaketh His own;

His promise is true, He will not forget you,

God is still on the throne.

Burdened soul, is your heart growing weary

With the toil and the heat of the day;

Does it seem that your path is more thorny

As you journey along on life’s way?

Go away and in secret before Him

Tell your grief to the Savior alone;

He will lighten your care, for He still answers prayer;

God is still on the throne. [Chorus]

You may live in a tent or a cottage,

Unnoticed by those who pass by;

But a mansion for you He is building

In that beautiful city on high;

It will outshine the wealth and the splendor

Of the richest on earth we have known;

He’s the architect true, and He’s building for you;

God is still on the throne. [Chorus]

He is coming again, is the promise

To disciples when He went away;

In like manner as He has gone from you,

You will see Him returning some day;

Does His tarrying cause you to wonder,

Does it seem He’s forgotten His own?

His promise is true, He is coming for you;

God is still on the throne. [Chorus]


* Kittie L. Suffield (1884-1972) was born in New York City, NY. Kittie Jennett, while a teenager, aspired to be a concert artist as a coloratura soprano or a pianist, for she was a talented musician and singer. Meanwhile, one winter day, this New York City native was traveling by train in Canada when the train was stalled by a blizzard. All the passengers were freezing. The conductor trudged through the storm when he came upon a house. He pounded on the door and Fred Suffield answered. Fred allowed the passengers to stay with him. Kittie later wrote him a thank you note. Fred responded, she responded, and so the correspondence continued. This led to romance, marriage, and the end of a hoped for career and fame as a singer and pianist…but only for a brief time. Sometime later, they attended a church in Ottawa led by a Wesleyan pastor, A.J. Shea. While attending this church, Fred and Kittie felt compelled by the spirit to become traveling evangelists. One summer, they hosted A.J.’s son, George Beverly, for a month in Westport, Ontario where they were holding evangelistic meetings. During his stay, one night George tried to sing, but his voice cracked. Kittie, the pianist, lowered the key and he sang beautifully from then on. She is known as the encourager and initiator of George Beverly Shea’s famous career as a singer, most notably for Billy Graham’s organization. She died in Los Angeles, CA in 1972.