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Sermon illustration » Sankey - “The Ninety and Nine”

Related commentaries – Shepherd

Irresponsible Shepherds – Ezekiel 34:1 – 34:16

Sankey - “The Ninety and Nine”

In 1874, Sankey and Moody held revivals in Scotland. Once on a train Sankey bought a newspaper to find news of America, but was disappointed. He threw it down, later picked it up and in a corner he saw a poem. He liked it and read it to Moody, who was absorbed in reading letters from Chicago.

The next day at noon, Moody’s topic was “The Good Shepherd.” Moody suddenly asked Sankey to sing something. “But if I sing Psalm 23, every Scotsman would join in,” he thought. Then a voice seemed to say, “Sing the hymn you found on the train.” But there was no melody to that poem! Placing the clipping on the organ, and after a brief pause of urgent prayer, Sankey began singing “The Ninety and Nine.” Note by note, the tune came out. At the end of the first stanza, a difficulty arose: would the tune be the same? It came out the same for the second stanza. And that hymn has  not changed to this day. When Sankey stopped singing, a great sigh arose from the congregation, “Rejoice! for the Lord has found His sheep!” (Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations - #8436).