As a young man who recently had been graduated from Brown University and Newton Theological Institution, I was supplying for a couple of Sundays the pulpit of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. At the mid-week service, on the 26th of March, 1862, I set out to give the people an exposition of the Twenty-third Psalm, which I had given before on three or four occasions, but this time I did not get further than the words “He Leadeth Me.” Those words took hold of me as they had never done before, and I saw them in a significance and wondrous beauty of which I had never dreamed.
This recording from 1919 is made by Thomas Edison and housed at the Library of Congress. The 23rd psalm is perhaps the best known of them all, importnat in both the Christian and Jewish traditions. It is particularly popular in the world of cinema where it is used in an interesting variety of scenes - to give just a few examples: at the end of the 1973 film The Wicker Man, Howie recites it as he is being engulfed in flames; in the 1980 David Lynch film The Elephant Man, Merrick recites it and so reveals his intelligence; in the 1997 film Titanic it is recited while the ship is sinking.