|W. O. Lattimore
|Lattimore, W. O., 1844-1899
|Birth Year (est.):
Born: Circa 1844.
Died: 1899, Evanston, Illinois.
Lattimore, W. 0. Author of “Long in darkness we have waited" (Christ the Light of the World), in I. D. Sankey's Sacred Songs & Solos, 1881.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II
“WHAT SHALL THE HARVEST BE?”
Very popular in England. Mr. Sankey in his Story of the Gospel Hymns relates at length the experience of Rev. W.O. Lattimore, pastor of a large church in Evanston, Ill., who was saved to Christian manhood and usefulness by this hymn.
Lattimore, the man whose history was so strangely linked with this hymn, entered the army in 1861, a youth of eighteen with no vices, but when promoted to first lieutenant he learned to drink in the officers’ mess. The habit so contracted grew upon him till when the war was over, though he married and tried to lead a sober life, he fell a victim to his appetite, and became a physical wreck. One day in the winter of 1876 he found himself in a half—drunken condition, in the gallery of Moody’s Tabernacle, Chicago. Discovering presently that he had made a mistake, he rose to go out, but Mr. Sankey’s voice chained him. He sat down and heard the whole of the thrilling hymn from beginning to end. Then he stumbled out with the words ringing in his ears.
In the saloon, where he went to drown the awakenings of remorse, those words stood in blazing letters on every bottle and glass. The voice of God in that terrible song of conviction forced him back to the Tabernacle, with his drink untasted. He went into the inquiry meeting where he found friends, and was led to Christ. His wife and child, from whom he had long been exiled, were sent for and work was found for him to do. A natural eloquence made him an attractive and efficient helper in the meetings, and he was finally persuaded to study for the ministry. His faithful pastorate of twenty years in Evanston ended with his death in 1899.