Crucifixion of Jesus
The "Glory to His Name" (also called "Down at the Cross") is a song of praise written by Elisha A. Hoffman in 1878. It is apprehended that Elisha Hoffman was reading about the crucifixion of Jesus in the Bible and started to think about how God saved men from their sins by permitting Jesus to die on the cross. The poem Elisha Hoffman wrote based on these thoughts was called the "Glory to His Name". John Stockton, a musician, and a constituent of Hoffman's church set the poem to music.
Elisha Albright Hoffman was born and raised on May 7, 1839, in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, United States; passed away 1929 in Chicago, Illinois and was a Presbyterian minister, composer of over 2,000 songs of praise and editor of over fifty songbooks. The son of an Evangelical minister, Hoffman grew up singing sacred songs of praise both in church and in the house with his parents. After accomplishing high school, Hoffman furthered his schooling at Union Seminary in New Berlin, Pennsylvania, and was eventually ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1873.
Following his seminary schooling, Elisha Hoffman started work with the publishing branch of the Evangelical Association in Cleveland, Ohio. After serving in this position for eleven (11) years, Hoffman held some 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 completed his pastoral service in Cabery, Illinois from 1911-1922. Hoffman passed away in 1929 in Chicago, Illinois, and is buried there in Oak Woods Cemetery.
Throughout the course of his life, Hoffman composed over 2,000 songs of praise, and edited over 50 songbooks, which include: The Evergreen, 1873; Spiritual Songs for Gospel Meetings and the Sunday Educational Institution, 1878; Temperance Jewels (Oliver Ditson & Company, 1879); Bells of Victory (Oliver Ditson & Company, 1888); Pentecostal Hymns No. 1 (Hope Publishing Company, 1894); Favorite Gospel Songs: A Tune Book (Jersey City, New Jersey); and Jubilant Voices (Hope Publishing Company, 1907).
Elisha Albright Hoffman was born and raised on May 7, 1839, in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Hoffman's parents, Francis and Rebecca Hoffman, were both of German descent. His father worked as a minister in the Evangelical Association for over sixty (60) years, which likely influenced Hoffman's decision to enter the ministry.
Hoffman's musical schooling was acquired from his parents. While possessing natural musical capabilities, Hoffman never took part in a school of music. Any musical instruction Hoffman got came from his experiences at his father's church or at home. Additionally, to singing at church, the Hoffman household had a daily family devotion time, of which song of praise-singing was a significant part. Hoffman, thus, became very familiar with the musical and spiritual tradition of Evangelical hymnology at a very young age. It was during these times of family praise that Hoffman developed a love for sacred music and a belief that song was “as natural a function of the soul as breathing was a function of the body.”
Throughout the American Civil War, when Hoffman was 24, he engaged as a Private in the Union Army on July 9, 1863. He performed duties with Company A, 47th Infantry Regiment, Pennsylvania. He was released just over a month later on Aug. 14, 1863.
Hoffman attended a public educational institution in Philadelphia and got a degree from Central High School in the scientific course. After completed high school, Hoffman attended Union Seminary, related with the Evangelical Association, in New Berlin Pennsylvania. After getting his degree from Union, Hoffman spent 11 years working with the Evangelical Association's publishing house in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1866 at 26, Elisha Hoffman married Susan M. Orwig who was 22 at the time. Hoffman was appointed by the Presbyterian Churches in 1873, at the age of thirty-four (34). Two years later in 1876, his wife, Susan passed away, leaving him a single parent of their 3 sons.
In early 1879, at the age of 40 (Forty), Hoffman remarried to Emma, a woman who was twenty-six (26) years old. The couple had a baby boy in December of that same year, adding to the family's 3 other boys. At the time, they were residing in Cleveland, Ohio, and had Hoffman's sister-in-law residing with them and working as a dressmaker.
Immediately after leaving his position with the Evangelical Association, Hoffman started his pastoral ministry. From 1880 until his retirement in 1922, Hoffman pastored some churches in Cleveland and Grafton, Ohio; Benton Harbor, Michigan; and Cabery, Illinois. His lengthy post was held at the Benton Harbor Presbyterian Church in Michigan where he worked for 33 years. It was throughout these years in ministry that Hoffman composed the bulk of his songs of praise. There are over 2,000 songs of praise composed by Hoffman in print. Hoffman also supported in the compilation and editing procedure of over 50 different songbooks. Hoffman passed away on November 5, 1929, in Chicago, Illinois.
In the huge majority of his compositions, Hoffman is the author of both the words and music. In his composition, Elisha Hoffman sought to make songs for congregational devotion. According to Hoffman, a song of praise is "a lyric poem, reverently and devotionally conceived, which is designed to be sung and which expresses the worshiper's attitude toward God or God's purposes in human life. It should be simple and metrical in form, genuinely emotional, poetic and literary in style, spiritual in quality, and in its ideas so direct and so immediately apparent as to unite a fellowship while singing it." Operating under this definition of a hymn, most of Hoffman's compositions are metrically simple. As per the majority of hymns, Hoffman's are also very simple in form, usually a collection of 8 or 16 bar stanzas separated by the return of a central refrain.
The classic musical and lyrical style in which Hoffman composed can be seen in one of his most famous songs of praises "What a Wonderful Savior!" The piece is in ordinary time and in the key of D major. The meter of this hymn is 18.104.22.168 or common meter. (The meter of a song of praise refers to the syllables contained in each line of a stanza. Another of Hoffman's songs of praises, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” is in long meter) as with many of Hoffman's songs of praises, the text of this hymn is equally repetitive, however, there are deep theological truths in the simple lyrics.