Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
William Dun Longstaff, the well-to-do business man recalled that the preacher said, “My text is found in 1 Peter 1:16, ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy.’”
The more he thought about it, the more logical and practical it became.
And soon he was regarding the idea of holiness, not as an appendage to the gospel, but as the heart of it all.
Later, a returned missionary to China addressed a conference of Christian people at Keswick, England.
When missionary Dr. Griffith John used the phrase “Take time and be holy” in his address, something clicked in Longstaff’s subconscious. He substituted “to” for the word “and,” making the phrase ‘Take time to be holy” his very own.
And before he knew it, the words and phrases were becoming lines and stanzas, and he was reading the first stanza of his own original hymn.
—Ernest K. Emurian