Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley (1707-1788) and his brother John, were the founders of the Methodist church (see: History of Hymns). It was a time of great change within the Christian church, and emotional responses to the new thing God was doing ran deep. It was not unusual for violence to result.

On one particular occasion in 1740, Wesley was preaching in the fields of a parish in Ireland when he was attacked by men who did not approve of his doctrines. He escaped to a farmhouse, where the farmer's wife hid him in the milkhouse. When the mob approached her home to demand the fugitive, the brave Christian lady quieted them temporarily with refreshments. While Charles' would-be captors were eating and planning their next move, she snuck out to the milkhouse and directed Wesley to go through a rear window and to hide under a hedge.

From his hiding place, which was situated by a quiet babbling brook, Wesley could hear the movement and angry voices of his pursuers. He settled back into the hedge to await their departure. He filled his waiting time by composing a hymn; a prayer of trust in God as his refuge: Jesus, Lover of My Soul.

Over the years, several musical scores have been written to accompany this hymn. The most popular has been a melody and arrangement by Joseph Parry (1841-1903), in 1879.

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall, Lo! on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13: 5b-6)

Just As I Am

Charlotte Elliott

Just As I Am has been around since 1835. It was made especially popular in the 20th century as the 'official' altar call song of the Billy Graham Crusades. Many souls have found Jesus as Savior in response to the simple beauty of this song.

When poet Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871) was 46 years old, an elderly man approached her at a dinner party and asked if she was a Christian. She considered him rude and unkind, and that his question was inappropriate. After the man walked away, Charlotte could not get his question out of her mind so she went to find the man, and to ask how to become a Christian. That night she received Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Soon thereafter she wrote Just As I Am as a testimony to her newfound faith, and as a tribute to the man who had told her that she could come to Christ, 'just as she was'. Over the remainder of her life Charlotte wrote 150 hymns.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Lord, I'm Coming Home

William J. Kirkpatrick

A member of the Methodist church, William J. Kirkpatrick (1838-1921) often led the music during Camp Meeting services. During one particular revival, Kirkpatrick noticed that one of his soloists always left after the music ended; never participating in the prayer time, or staying to listen to the sermon. Kirkpatrick grew burdened for this young man and began to pray for him.

One night, in response to his prayers, a song began to form in Kirkpatrick's mind. He quickly jotted down the words, added a melody, and then asked the young man to sing the new composition during the following evening's service.

The next night, while singing the new song Lord I'm Coming Home, the soloist was so moved by the melody and lyrics that he stayed for the sermon and then went forward at the altar call to accept Jesus as his Savior!

Since that night, Lord I'm Coming Home has been sung at many an altar call in many a church, drawing men and women forward and to their knees.

Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love,
Lord, I'm coming home.

I've wandered far away from God,
Now I'm coming home;
The paths of sin too long I've trod,
Lord, I'm coming home.


I've wasted many precious years,
Now I'm coming home;
I now repent with bitter tears,
Lord, I'm coming home.

I'm tired of sin and straying, Lord,
Now I'm coming home;
I'll trust Thy love, believe Thy Word,
Lord, I'm coming home.


My soul is sick, my heart is sore,
Now I'm coming home;
My strength renew, my hope restore,
Lord, I'm coming home.


My only hope, my only plea,
Now I'm coming home;
That Jesus died, and died for me.
Lord, I'm coming home.


I need His cleansing blood, I know,
Now I'm coming home;
O wash me whiter than the snow,
Lord, II'm coming home.


I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: 'Father, I have sinned against Heaven and you.'” (Luke 15:18)

Mary’s Boy Child

Jester Hairston

Jester Hairston (1901-2000) was an American composer, songwriter, arranger, choral conductor and actor. The grandson of American slaves, Jester dedicated his life to preserving Negro Spirituals, and the history behind them.

In recent years he is probably best remembered for his role as Rollie Forbes, in the 1980s sitcom AMEN.

Jester Hairston appeared in more than 50 films, including In The Heat of the Night, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and Lilies of the Field for which he composed the song Amen. Hairston wrote music scores for almost 30 films.

In 1956, Hairston wrote Mary's Boy Child. It was recorded that same year by both Harry Belfonte and Mahalia Jackson, and has since been performed by multiple recording artists. The song tells the familiar Christmas story in a melody reminiscent of the music Hairston wanted the world to remember; the Negro Spiritual.

Long time ago in Bethlehem
So the Holy Bible say
Mary's Boy Child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas Day

Hark now, hear the angels say
New king born today
And man will live forever more,
Because of Christmas Day

While shepherds watched their flocks by night
They saw a bright new shining star
And heard a choir from heaven sing
The music came from afar


Now Joseph and his wife Mary
Came to Bethlehem that night
They found no place to bear her Child
Not a single room was in sight
By and by they found a little nook
In a stable all forlorn
And in a manger cold and dark
Mary's little Boy Child was born

Final Refrain:
Trumpets sound and angels sing
Listen to what they say
That man will live forevermore
Because of Christmas Day



My Country ‘Tis of Thee

Samuel Francis Smith

Samuel Frances Smith graduated from Andover the same year he wrote "My Country ‘Tis of Thee." He was going through a stack of German childrens' songs given to him by a friend on February 2, 1832. One song caught his eye and he read it and found that it was patriotic. He thought of his own great land and began to pen the words:

Our father's God to thee,
Author of liberty, to thee we sing:
Long may our land be bright
With Freedom's holy light:
Protect us by thy might, Great God, our King.

Within half an hour, he had written the song My Country ‘Tis of Thee. It has become our favorite American hymn of patriotism.

Though the text of the hymn is distinctively American, the tune is an international one. It is the official or semi-official national melody of about twenty nations, notably that of England where “God Save the King/Queen” has been sung for more than 200 years. The origin of the tune seems to go back deeply into the singing traditions of Europe. Traces of the tune have been found in Swiss music as early as the seventeenth century. It has also been found in the musical heritages of Germany, Sweden and Russia. Its first known publication was in a hymnal entitled Thesaurus Musicus in 1740. In 1841 one of the world’s master composers, Ludwig Beethoven, wrote several interesting piano variations on this tune.

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.

My Jesus I Love Thee

William Ralph Featherson

The lives of most people are not captured in the history books. Memories are left to the hearts and minds of family and friends, and then all too soon fade into the tapestry of times past. And so it was with William Ralph Featherson. He was born without fanfare on July 24, 1846, in Montreal Canada, and he died in the same city, just before his 27th birthday. Little else is known of his short life except for the fact that some time during his 16th year of life William put pen to paper to record a love poem. The love he expressed was deep and true. The words of that poem have lasted more than a century beyond Featherson's life and death.

In 1876, three years after Featherson's passing, Adoniram Gordon put music to this love poem and added it to a hymnal which was published that same year. Featherson's poem My Jesus I Love Thee has since been recorded in most evangelical hymnals of the past 130 years, and is loved and sung by millions of Christians yet today.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now.

I love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now.

In Mansions of glory and endless delight,
I'll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)


Near to The Heart Of God

Armstrong McAffee


       To be creative, Rev. Armstrong McAffee prepared an original hymn for his church choir each quarter during the Holy Communion.

       He usually wrote his stanzas on the theme he chose for his sermon, setting them to appropriate music.

  His people began to anticipate their gifted minister’s hymns and tunes with the same eagerness with which they looked forward to his sermons.

       Then that tragedy struck with unexplained suddenness. Diphtheria claimed his brother’s two precious daughters as victims. The brothers and sister, with their close-knit families, offered to the bereaved parents all the love and understanding and sympathy their hearts could muster

       The young pastor began to think about the communion hymn he wanted to write for the following Sunday morning. Soon he was saying to himself, “We can find peace and comfort if we stay near to the heart of God”. 

       And soon the words were flowing from his facile pen, and he found himself writing, “There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of God;  A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God.”

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.

    • Refrain:
      O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
      Sent from the heart of God;
      Hold us, who wait before Thee,
      Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

Nearer My God to Thee

Sarah Flower Adams

Nearer My God to Thee was written by British actress, dramatic poet and Unitarian hymn writer Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848). Her sister Eliza wrote the original music. Several versions of melody have emerged over the years.

After Adams' performance in London's 1837 MacBeth, she received rave reviews. Her desire was to continue with the theatre indefinitely, but frail health interrupted her plans. And so she took to writing poems and hymns.

A pastor from the Unitarian church was visiting with Adams' family one afternoon. He mentioned that he was having difficulty finding a hymn that represented his next week's sermon, taken from on Genesis 28:11-19 (The story of Jacob's dream). Sarah volunteered to write a hymn for the occasion. Within the week, Nearer My God to Thee was born.

The beautiful hymn has touched many lives, and has even found its way into the (modern) theatre that Adams so dearly loved. The song has been sung and/or played in several TV and Hollywood films, including the Academy Award-winning films San Francisco (1936), and Titanic (1953, 1958, 1997). One true life Canadian survivor of the 1912 RMS Titanic tragedy reported that the band did indeed play Nearer My God to Thee as the ship was sinking.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song would be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I'd be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear steps unto heav'n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv'n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, 'Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.'” (Genesis 28:16)

Nothing but the Blood

Robert Lowry

The blood of Jesus to the Christian these words are some of the most beautiful ever spoken or penned. To others, the idea that all mankind needs a Savior is foolish thought. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (Corinthians 1:18).

The timeless words of the song Nothing But the Blood were written by Robert Lowry in 1876. More than 130 years later, contemporary Christians still sing the hymn with conviction, resounding the eternal truth that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” (Hebrews 9:22)

The blood of Jesus is salvation, healing, and eternal life. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Now by this I'll overcome
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I'll reach my home
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Glory! Glory! This I sing
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
All my praise for this I bring
Nothing but the blood of Jesus


O Happy Day

Philip Doddridge

When Monica Doddridge gave birth to Philip (1702 -1751, England), she had been through the pain of labor no less than 20 times. 18 of her children had died in infancy. Phillip was delivered as though stillborn, and so the midwife set him aside to attend to his mother. And then the baby cried out. At that moment Monica determined that young Philip's life had been saved for a purpose. She spent the next few years doing her best to teach her frail son the Scriptures.

At a young age, Philip Doddridge was orphaned. An excerpt from his diary tells that his faith in God remained strong: God is an immortal Father. My soul rejoices in Him. He hath hitherto helped me and provided for me; may it be my study to approve myself a more affectionate, dutiful and grateful child. With no family and no money for formal training, friends encouraged him to give up his dream of entering the ministry. Doddridge took the matter to prayer and God miraculously provided funds.

Doddridge found his place among the clergy of the English Dissenters. He was pastor of an independent congregation and taught at a seminary for dissenting ministers. More than 200 years later, this same college (now under another name) includes a large collection of his manuscripts in the library. Doddridge wrote more than 50 hymns, including the very popular O Happy Day..

O Happy Day has survived the centuries in various formats, with different melodies, and in both 3/4 and 4/4 time. The song has been recorded by several famous artists, including Joan Baez and the Hawkins Singers. It has been a part of many movies, including The Nutty Professor II, and Sister Act II. It has been sung by church and school choirs, at baptismal, confirmations, Easter and Christmas celebrations. O Happy Day is a timeless song that brings inspiration and joy to the hearts of both doubters and believers.

O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.


Happy day, happy day, when
Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray,
and live rejoicing every day
Happy day, happy day, when
Jesus washed my sins away.

O happy bond, that seals my vows
To Him Who merits all my love!
Let cheerful anthems fill His house,
While to that sacred shrine I move.


'Tis done: the great transaction's done!
I am the Lord's and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on;
Charmed to confess the voice divine.


Now rest, my long divided heart,
Fixed on this blissful center, rest.
Here have I found a nobler part;
Here heavenly pleasures fill my breast.


High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear,
Till in life's latest hour I bow
And bless in death a bond so dear.


O Worship the King

Charles Grant

Charles Grant (1778-1838) was born in India. His family moved back to England when he was seven years old. He became a lawyer at age 29. He became a member of Parliament at 48 and was elected Judge Advocate General at 54. At age 56 he was knighted and then appointed Governor of Bombay, India. He died at the age of 60, while serving in India.

Grant was a politician and a public servant of England. He was also a devout Evangelical Christian who took every opportunity to share the Good News. He was a financial supporter of missionaries, and was loved by the people of India, who established a Medical College in his honor.

Several of Grant's writings, prose and poetry, were published during his lifetime. After his death, his brother gathered 12 of Grant's poems into a book titled Sacred Poems. One of those poems, O Worship the King was set to music by Johann Michael Hadyn (1737-1806), and has appeared in church hymnals ever since.

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” (Psalm 95:6)

O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Charles Wesley

The great hymn writer Charles Wesley (1707-1788 See: History of Hymns) wrote more than 6,000 hymns, including Christ the Lord is Risen Today, and Hark the Herald Angel Sing. Wesley wrote O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing in 1739, shortly after his conversion.

There have been several melodies written for this song. The most common arrangement in hymnals today was composed by Lowell Mason (1792-1872) in 1839.
Mason was the first music teacher ever hired to teach in an American public school. He wrote more than 1,600 religious works, and is often called the 'Father of American Church Music.'

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
'Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

I heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands.” (Revelation 5:11)