1822 - 1894 Author of "Take Time to Be Holy" William Dunn Longstaff United Kingdom 1822-1894. Born at Sunderland, Durham, England, the son of a wealthy ship owner, he was a person of independent financial means. Although Longstaff had everything he desired, he still had an empty feeling in his life, and attended church one day and was inspired by words of a China missionary, Griffith John, on furlough to England, preaching at a service in Keswick, England, citing I Peter 1:16, “Be ye holy, for I am holy”. That resulted in him giving his heart to the Lord and beginning a Christian life, dedicated to God. He became a generous philanthropist and was influential in evangelical circles. Following his friend, Rev Arthur A Rees, a persuasive Welsh preacher, who left the Anglican priesthood after disagreements with his rector and bishop, Dunn served as church treasurer for Ree’s Bethesda Free Chapel in Sunderland. He married Joice Burlinson in 1853 and they had eight children: William, Hannah, Rhoda, Amelia, Ernest, Nora, Marnia, and Minnie. Longstaff befriended well-known evangelists, including William Booth of the Salvation Army, to whose work he generously contributed. Some of Langstaff’s hymns were published in the Salvation Army magazine, “The War Cry” during the 1880s. He also financed Dwight Moody’s evangelical crusades in England and Scotland when Moody’s funding dried up after their financier died. During the crusade they preached to 20,000 people. Longstaff did not forget that first sermon he heard, and it prompted the writing of his hymn lyrics, which he later showed to Ira Sankey during their crusade. Sankey showed it to George Stebbins, who set it to music in 1882 during a revival in India. In 1881 Longstaff’s wife died. He died at Sunderland, England.
William D. Longstaff