Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV)
Words: Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1740. Some have called this the finest hymn in the English language.
Music: Aberystwyth (Parry), Joseph Parry, in Stephens’ Ail Lyfr Tonau ac Emynau, 1879
“The circumstance of the writing of this hymn is interesting. The story goes that Charles Wesley was roused from his sleep one night by a terrible storm. Being unable to rest he got up, put on his dressing-gown, and, opening his casement window stood looking out upon the stormy scene. Suddenly a bird, exhausted by the wind, and hotly pursued by a hawk, flew through the open window right into Charles Wesley’s breast for protection. Having saved the bird and placed it in security, he turned to his desk and wrote this immortal hymn, so realistic and descriptive of the fear and intense longing of the anxious soul to find safety and rest.
For our soul needs shelter; and the Only One Who can be a refuge for the soul is Jesus. He is our Hiding-place, our Haven of Rest. Listen to these words of the prophet Isaiah (32:2):
“A man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest . . . as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
We have no time to say anything about this wonderful hymn in detail, but I would have you notice one point about it. I have spoken of this in the case of other hymns, but the thought will bear repeating. Notice in it the personal and persistent use of me, and my, and I, in it:
“Let me to Thy bosom fly.”
It is the prayer of the individual soul for succour, to the Saviour Himself; the call, as of a drowning man, that insists on being heard, and that can take no refusal; the cry of the terrified, and frail, and helpless bird, pursued by the cruel hawk, that is eager for its life.
Dear friends, are you “Safe in the arms of Jesus”? Have you “hidden” yourselves in Him?
Oh that these questions may go straight home to your hearts. If you are not in Christ, Oh, may God the Holy Spirit awaken you to see your danger. I will read the hymn to you, and then we will sing it together, on our knees, as our closing prayer.”
Jesus, Lover Of My Soul by Charles Wesley
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.