William R. Featherston, 1846-1873

We love him, because he first loved us.
I John 4:19

And shall I use these ransomed powers of mine
For things that only minister to me?
Lord, take my tongue, my hands, my heart, my all,
And let me live and love for Thee!
Author Unknown

The spiritual depth of "My Jesus, I Love Thee" is made all the more remarkable by the knowledge that it was written by a teenager. William Ralph Featherston of Montreal, Canada, is thought to have written these lines of heartfelt gratitude to Christ at the time of his salvation when only 16. It is believed he then sent a copy of his poem to an aunt in Los Angeles, and somehow the text appeared anonymously in print in an English hymnal, The London Book, in 1864.

Several years later, a well-known American Baptist pastor, Dr. A.J. Godron, discovered the anonymous hymn in the English hymnbook and decided to compose a better melody for it. With its new tune the hymn has since been included in nearly every evangelical hymnal and has been sung frequently by believers everywhere during hushed moments of rededication to God.

How marvelous are the workings of God in bringing together expressions such as these, providing a hymn that has been used in a remarkable way for more than a century to direct Christians to a deeper relationship with their Lord. May these words cause each of us even now to renew our devotion to God, so that this love for Christ may be reflected in all the activities of the day.

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, ítis now.

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

Iíll 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, ítis now."

In mansions of Glory and endless delight,
Iíll ever adore Thee in Heaven so bright;
Iíll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
"If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ítis now."

*For Today*: John 14:23; Ephesians 2:4 & 5; I Peter 1:8, 2:9; I John 4:7-21

Express your own love for the Saviour in fresh and fervent words; reflect on what He has done for you, what He is presently doing, and the future Glory that still awaits! Determine to demonstrate your loving devotion for Christ with an encouraging word or deed for some needy individual.


Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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