Friday, February 23, 2007
Jesus Loves Me - The Hymn
And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.
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..."
Dr. William B. Bradbury, the composer of the music for the text, was one of the important contributors to the development of early gospel hymnody in this country. He was born in York, Maine, on October 6, 1816. As a young man he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he became associated with Lowell Mason, often called the father of American public school and church music. Bradbury served as choir director and organist in several large Baptist churches in the East, where he became especially noted for his work with children. Among the highlights of his career were his annual Musical Festivals, where more than one thousand children would gather, all dressed alike, and sing many of his own compositions. Soon Bradbury gave himself exclusively to the teaching, writing and publishing of a great volume of music. From 1841 until his death in 1868, he was involved with the publishing of fifty-nine collections of sacred and secular music. Bradbury composed the music for "Jesus Loves Me" in 1861 especially for Anna Warner's text and personally added the chorus to the four stanzas. It appeared in its present form in 1862 in his hymnal publication, The Golden Shower.
This from 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck .
13: And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14: But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15: Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16: And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.