Jesus, Lover of My Soul, the Song and the Story

Composer Charles Wesley Writes Jesus, Lover of My Soul

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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

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)

Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen



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