The lyrics to this hymn date back to 1858, but the music goes back further to 1837. The meter of the song is 126.96.36.199 D, which means the major phrases are alternating 7 syllables followed by 6 syllables. The “D” means doubled; i.e., one could write this as 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. The name of the tune is WEBB, which is the same for the song “The Church’s One Foundation”.
George Duffield, Jr. (1818-1888), Lyricist
George Duffield, Jr. was born in Carlisle, PA on September 12, 1818. He was part of a family with strong Presbyterian heritage. He attended Yale College and Union Theological Seminary obtaining the Doctorate of Divinity. He preached in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan.
The song “Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus” first appeared in Living Sacra Americana in 1868 as the author originally wrote it; however, it appeared in an altered form earlier in 1859 in The Church Psalmist. The basis of the song was the life events of Dudley A. Tyng who was a popular denominational preacher in his day who was fatally wounded in a farming accident. Tyng was outspoken against slavery. The report of the these last words of Duffield to his father as he breathed his last reached Duffield who wrote the lyrics based on Tyng’s words of “Stand up for Jesus” to his father which some thought were encouraging his father to speak against slavery after his son died. Duffield heard this report and formulated these lyrics. This is Duffield’s most popular work according to the number of hymns it appears according to Hymnary.org. The song has been set to various tunes; however, WEBB is by far the most popular.
He was married and had one son. Duffield passed away in the home of his son on July 6, 1888 in Bloomfield, NJ and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, MI. Words from this hymn were engraved on his tombstone.
George James Webb (1803-1887), Music
George J. Webb as born June 24, 1803 near Salisbury, England. His father was a prosperous farmer which afforded him the opportunity to come to the United States to further pursue a career in music. He came to American and formed a close friendship with Lowell Mason in Boston where they founded the Academy of Music. He followed Mason in relocating to Orange, NJ in 1871.
The music he wrote, WEBB, was actually for a secular musical show for which he wrote the song “’Tis Dawn, the Lark is Singing”. According to Hymnary.org, based on publication in hymnals this tune was Webb’s most popular religious work.
He passed away on October 7, 1887 in Orange, NJ and is buried there in Rosedale Cemetery.
Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus
There is a story of a young boy who wanted to stand in his chair even after being directed by his parents to sit down. The child was told to sit down numerous times, but the child persistently rebelled until the parent made him sit. The boy replied “I may be sitting on the outside, but I am standing on the inside.” I thought of this story as I read of this song being excluded from a 1990 Presbyterian hymnal because they thought it was insensitive to handicapped people who were unable to stand. There is a MAJOR difference from those who refuse to stand up for Jesus, and those who are unable to stand up for Jesus! Another important reminder—there are more important ways to stand for Jesus than merely taking a standing position during the singing of this hymn. Far more!
Some opposed the song because of its militaristic theme; however, apparently these opponents fail to realize that living the Christian life; e.g., “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18, NKJV). Of course, the New Testament makes it plain that we are not speaking about a warfare fought with swords or guns: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, NKJV.)
To stand up for Jesus, one must first be enrolled in the Lord’s army. One must enlist by putting Christ on in baptism (Galatians 3:28), and putting on the Christian armor (Ephesians 6:10-20). We then stand up for Jesus by defending Him and His word. The battle is not easy, but the victory is secured as the song well states: “The strife will not be long; This day the noise of battle, The next the victor’s song.” If you want to be victorious with Christ, then you must be “in Christ”—“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, NKJV).
Emurian, Ernest K. Living Stories of Famous Hymns. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995.
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“George James Webb 1803-1887.” No pages. Cited 23 June 2016. Online: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/w/e/b/webb_gj.htm.
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“George James Webb.” No pages. Cited 23 June 2016. Online: https://www.hymnary.org/person/Webb_GJ?tab=tunes.
Howard, V. W., and Broadus E. Smith, eds. Church Gospel Songs & Hymns. Texarkana, TX: Central Printers & Publishers, 1983.
McCutchan, Robert G. Our Hymnody. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1937.
“Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus.” No pages. Cited 23 June 2016. Online: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/s/t/standufj.htm.
“Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus.” No pages. Cited 23 June 2016. Online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_Up,_Stand_Up_for_Jesus.
Wiegand, John P., ed. Praise for the Lord. Nashville, TN: Praise Press, 1997.