Jesus, lover of my soul hymn history


How did Charles Wesley come to write this hymn? One story is that Charles was returning to England in the fall of 1736 after serving as Governor Oglethorpe’s secretary in the new colony of Georgia. A frightening storm arose at sea, and it seemed that the ship would go down with all on board. A frightened bird flew into Wesley’s window during the storm and sought safety and protection in the folds of Wesley’s coat!

Another account says that the hymn was written when an angry mob drove Charles and John from the place they were preaching.
Charles Wesley was preach­ing in the fields of the par­ish of Killy­leagh, Coun­ty Down, Ire­land, when he was at­tacked by men who did not ap­prove of his doc­trines. He sought re­fuge in a house lo­cat­ed on what was known as the Is­land Barn Farm. The far­mer’s wife, Jane Low­rie Moore, told him to hide in the milk­house, down in the gar­den. Soon the mob came and de­mand­ed the fu­gi­tive. She tried to qui­et them by of­fer­ing them re­fresh­ments. Go­ing down to the milk­house, she di­rect­ed Mr. Wesley to get through the rear win­dow and hide un­der the hedge, by which ran a lit­tle brook. In that hid­ing-place, with the cries of his pur­su­ers all about him, he wrote this im­mor­tal hymn. De­scend­ants of Mrs. Moore still live in the house, which is much the same as it was in Wes­ley’s time.

Charles’ brother John did not like “Jesus Lover of My Soul” when he first read it; he thought it was too sentimental! The hymn didn’t really become popular until after Charles Wesley’s death.

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