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