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American Ballads and Folk Songs
'LIGION SO SWEET
A Negro Baptizing
My friend John B. Jones, now of Los Angeles, California, sent me from Houston, Texas, this song which he once took down at a Negro baptizing. My friend wrote:
"The minister in charge was a solemn-faced, deep-voiced, white-haired old man. Taking a long stick to guide his footing and to locate a firm bottom to the pool, he waded slowly into the water, carefully feeling his way. Finally, he turned and motioned to his deacons on the bank to lead in the candidates for baptism. As they stepped down into the water, the crowd sang:
" 'Le's go down to Jurdon, le's go down to Jurdon 5 De clear ribber Jurdon is mighty deep, Le's go down to Jurdonj De ol' ribber Jurdon is mighty deep, But 'ligion is so sweet.'
"Just before each person was baptized, again the congregation sang:
cc 'Missionary Baptist is my name, missionary Baptist is my name. Missionary Baptist is my name, 'ligion is so sweet. De Lord said baptism, it mus' be, for 'ligion is so sweet j De Lord said baptism it mus' be, we gwine 'bey his willj De Lord said baptism it mus' be, for 'ligion is so sweet. What kind o' manner o' man is he? All things dey obey his will. What kind o' manner o' man is he? He spoke to de sea an' de sea
was still. De Lord said baptism it mus' be, De lil babe in de manger, What kind o' manner o' man is he? He walk on de land and he walk on de sea, An' 'ligion is so sweet.'