Jesus Loves Me – Anna Bartlett Warner 1862
Why is this short and simple hymn timeless and popular with every culture?
Jesus loves me—this I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to him belong,—They are weak, but he is strong.
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.
Jesus loves me—he will stay, Close beside me all the way. Then his little child will take, Up to heaven for his dear sake.
Hymn by William Batchelder Bradbury
Jesus loves me—this I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong—They are weak, but He is strong.
Refrain: 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 gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in. 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. Jesus loves me—He will stay, Close beside me all the way, Then His little child will take, Up to Heaven for His dear sake.
Psalm 19: 7, 8 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The song Jesus Loves Me is timeless. Parents sing this hymn to their children at nap and bedtime, and it has probably been sung in every country since it was published in 1862. The history of the song is about 25 miles from where I live but its history touches all of us.
The Warner House
Anna and Susan Warner lived on Constitution Island in the Hudson River and many cadets from West Point Military Academy came by rowboat to their cottage to attend their Sunday School classes. (Sunday Schools date back to Brooklyn in 1816 and Rally Day parades began in 1829.)As a result of the economic crisis in 1857, the sisters began to write novels to supplement the family’s income. Anna wrote the verses to Jesus Loves Me as part of the novel about a young boy who was dying with no chance for recovery. In 1862, when a William Bradbury read their novel, Say and Seal, he added the refrain and composed the melody. Bradbury’s company also provided the pianos for the White House, beginning in 1857.
The novel and short hymn became popular in both the north and south during the American Civil War. It was preached in pulpits and sung at funerals. The simplicity of the poem made it easy to memorize. Although the novel, Say and seal was a national best seller in 1860, few have heard of it today. However, the simplistic poem, Jesus Loves Me, is known by almost everyone and two million copies were sold in 1862.
Psalm 19 reveals to us the love of God! Martin Luther said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me. It has feet, it runs after me. It has hands, it lays hold of me.”
The central question in religion is how do we know that God is real or how and where has he revealed Himself to us? The hymn, Jesus Loves Me, answers this essential question emphatically!
Constitution Island in the Hudson River looking towards West Point Military Academy. During the American Revolution, a chain was laid across the river in 1778 to prevent the British ships from advancing north from New York City.