Memoirs of P.P. Bliss: Introduction and Preface


I have pleasure in giving a word of introduction to the work of my friends, Major Whittle and Doctor Goodwin, in presenting to the public the memoirs of my dear friend and brother, P.P. Bliss. I regret the little time at my disposal prevents my writing more fully concerning the man and his work. I could probably add nothing to the facts of his life that are here compiled, but I would like to tell something of how I loved and admired him. I believe he was raised up of God to write hymns for the Church of Christ in this age, as Charles Wesley was for the church in his day. His songs have gone around the world, and have led and will continue to lead hundreds of souls to Christ. In my estimate, he was the most highly honored of God, of any man of his time, as a writer and singer of Gospel Songs, and with all his gifts he was the most humble man I ever knew. I loved him as a brother, and shall cherish his memory, giving praise to God for the grace manifested in him, while life lasts.

D.L. Moody
Boston, February 19th, 1877


The kind indulgence of the reader is asked for the imperfections that may be discovered in these Memoirs. The Editor is a novice in work of this kind. It was undertaken by him at the solicitation of friends who desired, if a life was to be written, a correct and reliable narrative of the facts which, from past association, he could seem to give better than others, and who were willing, in receiving the narrative, to overlook the crudeness of its literary performance.

It is not expected that the work will fall into the hands of many outside of those in some way acquainted and in sympathy with the loved friend of whom it speaks, and whose simple desire in reading the book will be to know him better - to know all that can be known of the man and his work. To all such the interest in the subject of the memoir will lead them to overlook its faults. To all others, it can only be said that no claim is made for the book, except that it is a loving and faithful attempt to truthfully narrate what could be recalled from memory, and gathered from all reliable sources, of the life of Mr. Bliss. Much could undoubtedly have been profitably omitted, and no one could feel more keenly than the writer that much could profitably be added to make a complete picture of this variously-=gifted, large-hearted, consecrated Christian man. What is presented will seem to his earest friends but fragments of glass, though which will be caught glimpses of the man they knew. That is all that it seems to the writer.

But one other word of apology remains to be presented to the general public for the issuing of the book to them. The profits arising from its sale are to be devoted to the mother and such of the family of Mr. Bliss, other than his children, who were dependent upon him for maintenance. The impression has been made by statements as to the response to Mr. Moody's appeal, that an abundant provision has been realized for his family. So far as the orphan children are concerned, this is happily true. The children of the Sabbath schools have sent in, up to the present time, penny contributions amounting in the aggregate to about $9,500. This money is in the hands of trustees for the purpose mentioned in the appeal, viz., the erection of a monument and the education and maintenance of his children. It cannot be diverted from this object.

All collections, so far as known, are for the same definite purpose. The estate of Mr. Bliss is in the hand of an executor, who is under legal responsibility to administer for the benefit solely of the heirs-at-law, the minor children. Whatever may be realized from the railroad company, from insurance, from copyright interests, must be kept and accounted for to the minor children when of age. It will thus be seen that while a fair provision is made for the boys, other objects, dear to the heart of both Mr. and Mrs. Bliss, are left wholly unprovided for. Mr. Bliss left a will which stipulated that $200 a year should be paid to his mother; but in probating the will it was ruled that, as he had changed this clause since the will was dated, and the change was without attestation, the original clause, which was $100 a year, was all that could be allowed. In addition to this mother, there were sisters and nephews who were constant recipients of his assistance, and for whom he had plans of future aid that would have been realized to them had he lived.

This statement is not made as the basis of any appeal for a continuation of contributions. No solicitations are made that the book should be bought as an act of charitable donation. The facts are stated to justify the publication of the book as giving friends who desire the privilege, the opportunity of creating a fund to be used in carrying out in some measure the plans of Mr. Bliss for his family. By assignment with the publishers, all copyright profits will be paid over to Rev. E.P. Goodwin, H.G. Spafford, and D.W. Whittle, as Trustees.

Acknowledgements and thanks are hereby tendered to the friends who have kindly assisted in the preparation of this book, by furnishing letters of Mr. Bliss and giving incidents connected with his life and work.

The obligations that the writer and all friends are under to Messrs. John Church and Co., Mr. Bliss's publishers, and the owners of the copyrights upon the words and music of his songs and hymns, for permitting without cost the use of the words and music compiled in this work, and the contributions of Mr. Bliss from the Song Messenger, are hereby gratefully acknowledged.

The composers, whose chapter of songs, as a memorial to their loved brother and companion in labor, constitutes so attractive and valuable a feature of the memoirs, are cordially remembered for the cheerful assent they have rendered to the request made for their contributions.

That God may add His blessing, and that His children who read this book may be quickened in spiritual life, and that some unsaved one may be led to the acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ by a word or sentence here read and applied by the Spirit of God, is the highest ambition and sincere prayer of the writer.

D.W. Whittle
Chicago, Feb. 19th, 1877

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