Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus

Edited from the files of Grace W. Haight

by Guye Johnson

This hymn of strength and service challenges Christians entering a new year to march on courageously for Jesus. Its determined spirit was inspired by the life and courageous death of Dr. George Duffield’s friend, Dr. Dudley A. Tyng.

Dr. Tyng and Dr. Duffield were two young ministers outstanding in the “work of God in Philadelphia,” as it was called. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, like many other sections of America, was experiencing a time of great revival in 1857-1858. Because of certain convictions, Dr. Tyng had resigned his formal pulpit and was holding services in Jaynes Hall. On an April Sunday afternoon in 1858 Dr. Tyng preached to 5000 men, using as his text: “Go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord” (Exodus 10:11). An estimated 1000 men publicly professed faith in Christ.

On the following Wednesday, young Dr. Tyng (he was 30 years of age) left his study and went to the barn to check a corn-shelling machine which was pulled by a mule. When Dr. Tyng reached over to pat the tired animal, the sleeve of his silk study gown fell into the cogs, causing his arm to be pulled into the wheel. The machine severed his arm at the shoulder.

Days of intense pain followed. Finally, Dr. Tyng heard the doctor say, “There is no hope. He cannot get well.” Without comment on the doctor’s verdict, Dr. Tyng asked, “Doctor, are you a Christian? I have loved you as a friend, and I long to have you as a brother in Christ. Let me entreat you to come to Jesus.” Dr. Tyng explained the plan of salvation; then he turned to a group of ministers in the room and cried, “Sing, sing. Can you not sing?” Dr. Tyng himself started singing the words, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me; Let me hide myself in Thee”; but he could not finish even one stanza. Tyng’s father leaned over his dying son and asked, “Do you have a farewell message for your friends?” The son whispered, “Tell them to stand up for Jesus.”

On the Sunday following the funeral, Dr. Duffield held a memorial service for his colleague. The text of his sermon was Ephesians 6:14: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness,” At the conclusion of his tribute, Dr. Duffield read the lyrics quoted above—lyrics which he had written upon his return from Dr. Tyng’s funeral and which use the dying words of his revivalist friend. The second stanza repeats Dr. Tyng’s last text: “Ye that are men now serve Him”

Duffield was the son, the grandson, and the father of Presbyterian ministers. Born at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on September 12, 1818 he was educated at Yale and at Union Theological Seminary. He pastored many churches in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Although choirs often use Adam Geibel’s tune for this hymn, it is usually sung to “Webb” a tune which was composed by George J. Webb 28 years before the hymn was written. Born in England on June 24, 1803, Dr. Webb studied piano and violin as a child, and before he was 20 was proficient in organ. In 1830 Webb moved to America where, in 1886, in cooperation with Dr. Lowell Mason, he founded the Boston Academy of Music.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus!
Ye soldiers
of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner,
It must not suffer loss;
From victory unto victory
His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished
And Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus!
The trumpet call obey;
Forth to His mighty conflict,
In this His glorious day;
Ye that are men now serve Him,
Against unnumbered foes,’
Let courage rise with danger,
And strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus!
Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
Ye dare not trust your own;
Put on the Gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus!
The strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle,
The next the victor’s song;
To him that overcometh,
A crown of life shall be;
He with the King of glory
Shall reign eternally.

—George Duffield, Jr., 1818-1888

This article first appeared in Faith for the Family, January / February 1975. It is republished here by permission.