In the Christian tradition, Jesus Christ is depicted as a Good Shepherd who attends and protects His flock. Believers are the sheep for Christ to protect and help grow in faith. “Bring Them In” by Alexcenah Thomas, and William A Ogden helps reinforce this imagery of a dutiful Shepherd and His flock.
“Bring Them In” is a hymn with three stanzas and a refrain. This work was from the mind of Alexcenah Thomas (19th century) and complimented by William A Ogden’s (1841-1897) music. The work was said to be created in 1885, but no confirmation.
The context of this hymn is about recruiting people to be believers in the faith and Christ. In the same background, this imagery also plays to believers who are going astray and need the guidance and help of the Lord to bring them back to the fold.
The hymn made many appearances in many hymnals. These hymnals include:
Great Songs of the Church No. 2 (1937)
Christian Hymns No. 1 (1935)
Christian Hymns No. 2, (1948)
Christian Hymns No. 3 (1966)
Abiding Hymns (1963)
Songs of the Church (1971 and 1990 edition)
Praise for the Lord (1992)
Sacred Selections (1992)
Sacred Songs of the Church (2007)
The text was written by Alexcenah Thomas. Little is known about this author. Based on records, this hymn is his only work, and no other records exist.
It is different for William Augustine Ogden, who has a trail of his history. Ogden was an American composer and a native of Ohio. He was very young when he had musical training in his community’s singing schools. Ogden was a member of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. After his service, he resumed his musical training under Lowell Mason and Thomas Hastings. He went on to create a name for himself. His career included being a famous music teacher, a conductor of music conventions, and publisher of Sunday school hymn collections. Later on, he became the supervisor of music for the public schools of Toledo, Ohio.