The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Isaiah 5:1
Some may be interested in learning the origin of [this] hymn…In the spring of 1845, the author of the vision [Ellen Harmon White], published in this paper, was very sick, nigh unto death. The elders of the church were finally called, and the directions of the apostle [James 5:14,15] were strictly followed.
God heard, answered, and healed the sick. The Holy Spirit filled the room, and she had a vision of thecity,life’s pure river,green fields,roses of Sharon,songsoflovely birds,theharps,palms,robes,crowns,themountZion, thetree of life, and theKing of that countrymentioned in the hymn.
A brother took up his pen, and in a very short time composed the hymn from the vision. It has been published in two or three Second Advent papers, Smith’s collection of hymns, and finally found its way into the Advent Harp, published by J. V. Hines in 1849.
Let those whodespise prophesying,and reject the fulfillment of God’s word in visions of theLAST DAYS,remember, when they sing this hymn, that it was composed from a vision.
James White, The Present Truth, November 1850
We have heard from the bright, the holy land;
We have heard, and our hearts are glad;
For we were a lonely pilgrim band,
And weary, and worn, and sad.
They tell us the saints have a dwelling there—
No longer are homeless ones;
And we know that the goodly land is fair,
Where life’s pure river runs.
They say green fields are waving there,
That never a blight shall know;
And the deserts wild are blooming fair,
And the roses of Sharon grow.
There are lovely birds in the bowers green,
Their songs are blithe and sweet;
And their warblings, gushing ever new,
The angels’ harpings greet.
We have heard of the palms, the robes, the crowns,
And the silvery band in white.
Of the city fair, with pearly gates,
All radiant with light.
We have heard of the angels there, and saints,
With their harps of gold, how they sing;
Of the mount with the fruitful tree of life,
Of the leaves that healing bring.
The King of that country, He is fair,
He’s the joy and light of the place;
In His beauty we shall behold Him there,
And bask in His smiling face.
We’ll be there, we’ll be there in a little while,
We’ll join the pure and the blest;
We’ll have the palm, the robe, the crown,
And forever be at rest.