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.