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 A Hymn History

Take the Name of Jesus With You

By Lydia Baxter, 1809-1874

 

What’s in a name?  This was the probing question asked by Romeo in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.  Christians have longed realized that the whispered name “Jesus” can bring comfort and cheer to someone suffering or bereaved, and it can bring joyful hope to the fearful or depressed heart.

 

The writer of this hymn text knew well the meaning of that special name “Jesus.”  Although Lydia Baxter was a bed-ridden invalid much of her life, she remained continually cheerful and patient.  “I have a very special armor” she would tell her friends.  “I have the name of Jesus.  When the tempter tries to make me blue or despondent, I mention the name of Jesus, and he can’t get through to me anymore.”

 

“Take the Name of Jesus With You” was written by Mrs. Baxter on her sick bed just four years before her death in 1874 at the age of 65.  Throughout her lifetime she was known as an avid student of the Bible who loved to discuss the significance of scriptural names with her friends.  She would inform them that Samuel means “asked of God,” Hannah – “grace,” Sarah – “princess,” and Naomi – “pleasantness.”  But the name that meant everything to Lydia Baxter was the name of “Jesus.”

 

This hymn was often sung during the Moody-Sankey evangelistic campaigns in the latter part of the 19th Century.  These words are still a comforting reminder of the peace and joy that result as we carry His precious Name throughout this life, and the “joy of Heaven” that awaits us.