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Dusting Off the Old Hymn Book
This Oneís for Grandma (May she rest in peace)
Review by Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT
My Jesus I Love Thee: William R. Featherston (lyrics), Adoniram J. Gordon (music), 1876

Download for free this hymn from the forthcoming Dr. BLT CD, Altaríd Hymns:

My Jesus I Love Thee
Performance/new arrangement by Dr. BLT ©2006
Original by Featherston/Gordon

William R. Featherston was Christian rockís first teen idol.  Oh, yeah, rock n roll wasnít around back in 1864.  Or was it?  The song clearly rocks, and the words were written by a 16-year-old young man.  It took the young, talented William R. Featherston awhile to find a co-writer, but when Adoniram Gordon finally arrived at the scene in 1876, the duo pooled their resources and fashioned one of the greatest hymns of all time.   If Bill were 16 today, I wonder if he would select my musical arrangement over Gordonís.  On second thought, I think not.  Gordon matches the lyrics with music that is simple, worshipful, and elegant.  Iíve heard the music performed in complex orchestral arrangements, and Iíve heard it sung a cappella at revival services in my childhood home town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Either way, it lifted my spirit and set it soaring high above the clouds to a place of peace, serenity, and worship.  The music is just fine the way Gordon wrote it.  I simply read the words again, and they made me want to dance for joy, so I put together a dance mix.  

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

Doubt often leads us to a stronger faith, but this song is an unequivocal declaration of the writerís love for Jesus.  The first verse reveals the youthful zeal and convincing confidence of a young believer.  When I sing the song, it becomes my fountain of youth, overflowing with life itself.     

 I love thee because thou hast 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.

Everybodyís got to have a reason for loving somebody.  Iíd say that young Bill gives us some pretty good reasons to love Jesus.  After all, who doesnít want to be loved?  Who doesnít want a pardon from sin?  Who doesnít want somebody to carry the burden of guilt?  Weíve all been born in sin and are condemned to die an eternal death.  Who wouldnít someone to pay that penalty on his/her behalf.  

I'll 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.

I dedicate this verse to my grandmother, who just passed away.  She lived out the words to this verse.  She loved Jesus in life, and she loved him as she approached death.  She loved Jesus more than ever as she was approaching the gates of heaven.  Her life was a shining example of what the love of Jesus can do for somebody who will allow that love to take hold of oneís heart.  

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. 

Iím sure my grandfather will be grateful to be reunited with his bride after the years heís been hanging out in his own private mansion in the sky.  I know the Bible promises us that there will be ďno tearsĒ in heaven, but Iím sure he sensed on some level that his bachelor pad was a little empty without her.  They simply donít write songs like this anymore. The last verse speaks for itself.  Thereís really nothing more to do except repeat it, so I think Iíll do just that. 

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. 


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