Sunday, August 20, 2006

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died,
Heaven's gates to open wide;
He will wash away my sin.
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
If I love Him, when I die
He will take me home on high.

Without doubt the hymn that has influenced children for Christ more than any other is this simply stated one, written in 1860 by Anna Bartlett Warner. Miss Warner wrote this text in collaboration with her sister Susan as a part of one of the best-selling novels of that day, a novel written by Susan entitled Say and Seal. Today few remember the plot of that novel, which stirred the hearts of many readers. But the simple poem spoken by one of the characters, Mr. Linden, as he comforts Johnny Fax, a dying child, still remains the favorite hymn of children around the world to this day.

Anna and Susan Warner were highly educated and deeply devoted Christian young women who lived all of their lives along the Hudson River in New York, in a lovely but secluded area apart from the busy world. Their home was near the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and for a number of years these two sisters conducted Sunday School classes for the young cadets. Their home, Good Crag, was willed to the Academy and made into a national shrine. Both sisters were buried with military honors in recognition of their spiritual contributions to the lives of the young military officers.

After the death of their widower father, a well-known New York lawyer, the Warner sisters were left with a meager income and of necessity turned to serious literary writing. Susan became especially noted for several of her works, including a popular book, The Wide, Wide World, considered at that time to be the best seller after Uncle Tom's Cabin. Although not as well-known as Susan for her literary fame, Anna wrote a number of novels under the pseudonym "Amy Lothrop" and published two collections of verse, Hymns of the Church Militant, 1858, and Wayfaring Hymns, Original and Translated, 1869.

The popularity of "Jesus Loves Me" soon spread quickly beyond the boundaries of our own land. Numerous stories are told by missionaries of the universal appeal this hymn text has had with children in every culture. It is often one of the first hymns taught new converts in foreign lands. The hymn has even been appropriated by other religious sects; missionaries have reported that they have heard groups in Buddhist Temples singing, "Yes, Buddha loves me, Yes, Buddha loves me..."

Hat Tip: Dr. Chadwick’s Hymn Backgrounds


shoprat said...

Another stanza

Jesus loves me! Loves me still!
Though I'm very weak and ill;
From His shining throne on high,
comes to watch me where I lie.

and an official one we used to sing in church camp:

Jesus' love for me is strong
Even though my hair is long
He don't care about my clothes
Cause what's in my heart He knows.

shoprat said...

excuse me

that should be UNofficial one we used to sing.

Crystal said...

Such a simple song with so much meaning.....I love it!

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Wow!! I hadn't read the background on that song yet. Very cool story!! Thanks for sharing it.

bigwhitehat said...

My hymnal says
Jesus take this heart of mine
Make it pure and wholly thine
On the cross You died for me
I will try to live for Thee.

Pretty deep lyrics for what we call a children's song.