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When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder
James M. Black, 1856-1938
 
The calm assurance of a future heavenly home is one of the greatest blessings of being a child of God.  It has been said that only those with an absolute confidence in the future truly know how to live victoriously in this life.  Having a personal relationship with Christ means that we need have no fear when “the trumpet of the Lord shall sound” – whether alive or asleep in Jesus.
 
James M. Black was born at South Hill, NY on August 19th, 1856.  He was a member of Pine Street Methodist Church of Williamsport, PA, from 1904 until his death at the age of 82.  Black was a music teacher, singing instructor and composer/publisher/editor of numerous gospel songs and song books.  In life he survived a kidnapping (his own at the age of eight) and years later while on a ship the news that his home had burned to the ground.  He relates this experience:
 
While a teacher in the Sunday school and president of a young people’s society, I one day met a girl, 14 years old, poorly clad and a child of a drunkard.  She accepted my invitation to attend the Sunday school and join the young people’s society.  One evening at a consecration meeting, when members answered the roll call by repeating Scripture texts, she failed to respond.  I spoke of what a sad thing it would be when our names are called from the Lamb’s Book of Life, if one of us should be absent.  When I reached my home, my wife saw that I was deeply troubled.  Then the words in the first stanza came to me in full.  In fifteen minutes more, I had composed the other two verses.  Going to the piano, I played the music just as it is found today in the hymnbooks, note for note, and I have never changed a single word or note of the music since.