No Not One


No Not One

Lyrics: Johnson Oatman Jr.
Music: George Crawford Hugg

There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! no, not one!
None else could heal all our souls’ diseases:
No, not one! no, not one!

Refrain:
Jesus knows all about our struggles;
He will guide ’til the day is done:
There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! no, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! no, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! no, not one!

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,
No, not one! no, not one!
No night so dark, but His love can cheer us,
No, not one! no, not one!

Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?
No, not one! no, not one!
Or sinner find that He would not take him?
No, not one! no, not one!

Was e’er a gift like the Savior given?
No, not one! no, not one!
Will He refuse us the bliss of heaven?
No, not one! no, not one!

 This is a song that identifies Jesus as a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. It is  titled: “No Not One!”  As often as  I sing this song, I am reminded of the 5 Oçlock services every Sunday evening at Choma Secondary School somewhere in southern Zambia some 200km from the mighty Victoria falls. In those days in the late 1980s, we sung this hymn by force from the Brethren in Christ and Pilgrim Wesleyan Church missionaries who forced the hymnbook before our little faces. But today, I muse over this hymn for various reasons. One of them being the fact that No one is perfect. Indeed, Nobody is perfect, and nobody deserves to be perfect. Nobody has it easy, everyone has issues. You never know what people are going through. So pause before you start judging, mocking or criticizing others. Everybody is fighting their own unique war!

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us turning our separate way. We have all sinned and became the object of the wrath of God. Except for grace we are doomed. I therefore,  owe no explanations for my flaws. I don’t have to justify my mistakes, my past, or my insecurities. I am growing and learning and being sanctified from glory to glory. Let me live by grace that is greater than all of my sin.  People say: “Find good people and leave the bad ones.” But I say, find the good in people and ignore the bad in them. Because “No one is perfect”. In Him we move and have our being.

The text was written by Johnson Oatman Jr. (1856-1922).  He was a prolific gospel song text author whose other well-known hymns include “Count Your Blessings,” “Hand in Hand with Jesus,” “Higher Ground,” “I’ll Be a Friend to Jesus,” “Lift Him Up,” “Sweeter Than All,” “The Last Mile of the Way,” and “What Shall It Profit?”  The tune was composed by George Crawford Hugg, who was born on May 23, 1848, near Haddonfield, NJ.  Not much information about him is available.

As a child, Hugg showed unusual musical gifts.  At the age of twelve he became song director of the Presbyterian Church in Berlin, NJ, and at age fourteen published his first song, “Walk in the Light,” which became very popular.  After moving to Philadelphia, PA, he was an active music director at various churches in that area including the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, and the Broad and Arch Street Methodist Episcopal Church.  Also, he was engaged in writing, composing, and publishing hymns during this time.  His over 2,000 works include eighteen books of revival and Sunday school music, such as Walk in the Light (c. 1862), Sunlight in Sacred Song (1892), and Light in the Valley (1898), and ninety song services for special occasions.  Another hymn for which provided the music is “Scattering Precious Seed.”

“No, Not One” was produced sometime in the 1890′s.  It was copyrighted in 1895 and first published in 1895 or 1896 in Heavenly Echoes, or Songs of the Golden Land, edited by Oatman and Hugg for Ward and Drummond in New York City, NY.  A favorite “Sunday school” song, it extols our living Lord using child-like language.  In typical gospel song character, it employs a repetitive phrase, “No, not one,” which allows people of all ages and backgrounds to join heartily together in the praise of Christ as our Friend.  Songs such as this can teach even the youngest child the truth about the pre-eminence of Jesus and also remind adults of His nearness in every situation of their lives.  In later years, Hugg served in several capacities with the Harper Memorial Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia and died in that city on Oct. 13, 1907.

Couple of comments about the stanzas.

The song praises Jesus as a Friend who knows all about our struggles. Stanza 1 says that Jesus is our Friend because He heals all our souls’ diseases

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,

No, not one! No, not one!

None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,

No, not one! No, not one!

(a) Jesus Himself calls us His friends, so He must be our Friend: Jn. 15:13-15

(b) As our Friend, He is lowly, having humbled Himself to the obedience of the cross: Phil. 2:5-8

(c)  This Friend is the Great Physician who can heal all our souls’ diseases: Matt. 9:12

Stanza 2 says that Jesus is our Friend because He is meek and lowly

No friend like Him is so high and holy,

No, not one! No, not one!

And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,

No, not one! No, not one!

(a)    Jesus is high in that He sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high: Heb. 1:1-3

(b)He is also holy in that He is undefiled and sinless: Heb. 7:26

(c)Yet, at the same time He is meek: Matt. 11:28-30

Stanza 3 says that Jesus is our Friend because He is always near us

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,

No, not one! No, not one!

No night so dark but His love can cheer us,

No, not one! No, not one!

(a) Jesus has promised that He will be near us even to the end of the world: Matt. 28:18-20

(b) The darkness of night is often used to represent the sin in this world which is the root of all the troubles and tribulations that we face: Jn. 3:19

(c) Yet, no matter how dark the night may seem, Christ’s love can cheer us: Jn. 16:13

Stanza 4 says that Jesus is our Friend because He will never forsake us

Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?

No, not one! No, not one!

Or sinner find that He would not take him?

No, not one! No, not one!

(a) The saints are simply those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, having been saved from sin by His blood and added to His church: 1 Cor. 1:1-2

(b) The Bible tells us that Christ will never leave nor forsake His saints: Heb. 13:5-6

(c) Also the Bible tells us that no sinner who comes to Christ, willing to meet His terms of pardon, will be cast out or turned away: Jn. 6:37

Stanza 5 says that Jesus is our Friend because He will take us to heaven

Was ever a gift like the Savior given?

No, not one! No, not one!

Will He refuse us a home in Heaven?

No, not one! No, not one!

(a) God has certainly given us a wonderful gift: 2 Cor. 9:15

(b) This gift is a Savior who is Christ the Lord: Lk. 2:11

(c)As a result, even though we may choose to live a life that will result in eternal damnation, the fact is that if we follow God’s way, He will not refuse us a home in heaven because Jesus died to make it possible for all mankind to have this hope: Matt. 8:11

“Will He refuse saints a home in heaven?” obviously under the thinking that some poor, lost sinner might wander into one of our assemblies when the song was being sung, and we just can’t have a poor, lost sinner singing about “us” not being refused a home in heaven, now can we?)

Conclusion:  The chorus continues to extol Jesus for His wonderful characteristics as a Friend.

Jesus knows all about our struggles,

He will guide till the day is done;

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,

No, not one! No, not one!

When difficult situations arise in our lives, we should remember that with regard to having a true Friend like Jesus to help us, there’s “No, Not One!”

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