“Farther Along” first appeared in the 1911 Select Hymns for Christian Worship. By tradition, the text and the tune were both attributed to Rev. W. B. Stevens. The first recording was made by the J. H. Howell’s Carolina Hillbillies in 1938.
Notable covers were made by Hank Williams, Glen Campbell, Pete Seeger, Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Mississippi John Hurt, Bill Anderson, Ellen McIlwaine, Smoking Popes, Josh Garrels, The Trio(Emmylou Harris, Linda Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt), Brad Paisley, Ronnie Milsap and the Million Dollar Quartet.
Substantially an encouraging song, it appealed to those believers feeling disheartened seeing the contrast between their troubled lives and those others who could not care less about living righteously.
In the first and second stanzas, the song echoes the question asked by prophets like Jeremiah in the Old Testament. That is, “why do the wicked prosper?” Still, instead of accusing God of being unfair, they considered the pitiful end of these hardened unbelievers. Soon, the tables would be turned. Those who had been suffering for righteousness’ sake would receive relief while those who had only been indulging themselves in wrongdoings would be in deep trouble.
The third stanza exhorts the believer to faithfulness while going through lots of hard work. In the end, all our difficulties would pale to the promise of bliss that awaits us in glory land. All the same, in stanza four, eternal bliss could not compare to seeing Jesus come that he may live with us forever.
Alternatively, the chorus attempts to re-kindle the interest of a devotee by its choice of words. The first two lines take our eyes off ourselves by looking further. Whatever questions we may have would be answered by then and everything would become clear. So, instead of sulking, the third line tells us to “cheer up” and to “live in sunshine”
Farther along, we will see Jesus, so cheer up folks!
gospel, Hymns, Jean Shepard, Loretta Lynn, Wilburn Brothers
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