This hymn was initially written as a poem by George Duffield Jr. in memory of his friend Dudley Tyng. The story behind the song is the life of Tyng. He was an Episcopalian minister in the 1850s in Philadelphia. His father and grandfather were well known, distinguished pastors in the area and he followed them into the ministry.
Tyng was not a typical pastor and believed all men are sinners and need to repent. He took at strong stand against slavery and proclaimed it from the pulpit in the wealthy church he pastored. They finally asked him to resign. Some of the younger members of the church supported him and they worked with him to start a new work in a small meeting hall. During that time he began to give lectures at the Philadelphia Y.M.C.A. and thousands were converted.
On September 30, 1858 he gave a powerful message from Exodus 10:11. At the end of the message he asked forgiveness from anyone that he had offended but added, “ I must tell my Master’s errand, and I would rather that this right arm were amputated at the trunk than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God’s message”. Over a thousand men came to Christ that day.
The following week he was working on the farm when his clothing was caught in the cogs of a corn shelling machine and his arm was pulled into the machine. It was later amputated and because of blood loss it became obvious that he would not recover. He spent his last days at the hospital encouraging others to stand for Jesus.
The following week his friend George Duffield preached from Ephesians 6:14 and read the poem he had written that we know today as the hymn Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. What a powerful legacy he left for others to follow. Do we really lift high His royal banner so that it doesn’t suffer loss???