[A ruler once came to Jesus by night]

[A ruler once came to Jesus by night]

Composer: George C. Stebbins (1877)
Published in 92 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI, Recording

Composer: George C. Stebbins

Stebbins studied music in Buffalo and Rochester, New York, then became a singing teacher. Around 1869, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, to join the Lyon and Healy Music Company. He also became the music director at the First Baptist Church in Chicago. It was in Chicago that he met the leaders in the Gospel music field, such as George Root, Philip Bliss, & Ira Sankey. At age 28, Stebbins moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he became music director at the Claredon Street Baptist Church; the pastor there was Adoniram Gordon. Two years later, Stebbins became music director at Tremont Temple in Boston. Shortly thereafter, he became involved in evangelism campaigns with Moody and others. Around 1900, Stebbins spent a year as an evangelist in I… Go to person page >

Tune Information

Title: [A ruler once came to Jesus by night]
Composer: George C. Stebbins (1877)
Meter: with refrain
Incipit: 13333 45654 55543
Key: E♭ Major
Copyright: Public Domain


This song was writ­ten while Steb­bins was help­ing Dr. George Pen­te­cost in evan­gel­is­tic meet­ings in Wor­ces­ter, Mass­a­chu­setts: During those meet­ings, one of the sub­jects preached up­on was the "New Birth." While pre­sent­ing the truth, en­forc­ing it by re­fer­ring to var­i­ous pass­ag­es of Scrip­ture, Dr. Pen­te­cost quot­ed our Lord’s words to Ni­co­dem­us, "Ver­i­ly, ver­i­ly, I say un­to thee, ye must be born again"…It oc­curred to me that by tak­ing the line "Ver­i­ly, ver­i­ly, I say un­to thee," from the third verse, and put­ting it with the line, "Ye must be born again," and by trans­fer­ring the word "I" from the mid­dle of the first line to the be­gin­ning, so it would read, "I ver­i­ly, ver­i­ly, say un­to thee, Ye must be born again," those pas­sag­es would then fall in­to rhyth­mic­al form, and by the use of some re­pe­ti­tions could be made avail­a­ble for a mu­sic­al set­ting, and al­so for a chor­us to the hymn, if some suit­a­ble vers­es could be found…I spoke to Rev­er­end…Sleep­er, one of the pas­tors of the ci­ty who some­times wrote hymns, of my im­press­ion and asked him if he would write me some vers­es on the sub­ject. He act­ed at once on my sug­gest­ion and soon af­ter came to me with the hymn…Be­fore the meet­ings closed a mu­sic­al set­ting was made. George Stebbins, Mem­oirs and Rem­i­nis­cenc­es


Organ Solo

  • The Organist Volume 106 Number 6 January February 2003: The Service Music Companion for Church Organists
    Composer/Editors Gilbert M. Martin; Charity Boyles
    Published By: Lorenz Publishing Company (2003) pp. 70
  • Blessed Be the Name and Other Favorites for Organ
    Composer/Editors Eugene McCluskey; Susanna Keeney
    Published By: Lorenz Publishing Company (1993) pp. 57
  • The Organist Volume 95 Number 3 July 1991: A Bi-Monthly Publication for Church Organists
    Composer/Editors James Mansfield; Susanna Keeney
    Published By: Lorenz Publishing Company (1991) pp. 67

Piano Solo

  • The Piano Hymnal: 200 Favorite Hymn Arrangements
    Composer/Editor David Smither
    Published By: Trinity House Publishing, Inc. (1985) pp. 157


Baptist Hymnal 1991 #322
Text: Ye Must Be Born Again
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #180
  • Four-part harmony, full-score (PDF, NWC)
The Cyber Hymnal #7767
Text: Ye Must Be Born Again
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 12 of 12)
TextAudioPage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #322


Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #180

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Faith #352

Page Scan

Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #261


Small Church Music #2393

Soul-stirring Songs & Hymns (Rev. ed.) #253

The Christian Life Hymnal #271


The Cyber Hymnal #7767

Page Scan

Yes, Lord! #278

TextPage Scan

نظم المرامير #212

TextPage Scan

نظم المرامير #213

生命聖詩 - Hymns of Life, 1986 #188

Include 80 pre-1979 instances
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