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 Jesus Loves Me

By Anna B. Warner, 1820-1915

 

Without doubt the hymn that has influenced children for Christ more than any other is the one simply titled “Jesus Loves Me,” written in 1860 by Anna Bartlett Warner.  Miss Warner wrote the words in collaboration with her sister Susan as part of one of the best-selling novels of the day: “Say and Seal” written by Susan.  Today few remember the plot of that novel, which at the time stirred the hearts of many readers.  But this simple poem spoken by one of the characters (a Mr. Linden as he comforts one Johnny Fax, a dying child) still remains a favorite hymn of children around the world.

 

The popularity of “Jesus Loves Me” soon spread quickly beyond the boundaries of our own land.  Numerous stories are told by missionaries of the universal appeal his hymn text has had with children in every culture.  It is often one of the first hymns taught to new converts in foreign lands.  The hymn has even been appropriated by other religious sects; missionaries have reported that they have heard groups in Buddhist temples singing, “Yes, Buddha loves me, Yes, Buddha loves me…”

 

Dr. William B. Bradbury  composed the music (other hymns by Bradbury include: “He Leadeth Me,” “Just As I Am,” “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” and “The Solid Rock”).

 

Both Anna and Susan were highly educated and deeply devoted Christians who lived all of their lives along the Hudson River in New York, near the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  For many years these two sisters conducted Sunday School classes for the young cadets.  Their home, known as Good Crag, was willed to the Academy and made into a national shrine.  Both sisters were buried with military honors in recognition of their spiritual contributions to the lives of the young military officers.