Saturday, July 12, 2008

That Sweet Story for Children

I do admit that I have a particular affinity for people who minister to children, especially those who write for children. Knowing how much I love hymns, you won't be surprised that I would have a particular interest in those hymn writers who took special interest in teaching spiritual truths to children through music. There are several blessed saints whom I hold in high esteem because of this, such as Cecil Alexander and Horatius Bonar, among others. Lately, I've read about another jewel in the kingdom of God who not only had a concern about teaching children truths about Jesus in hymns, but she apparently also taught them in Sunday school. Now there's a precious soul if ever there was one! Her name is Jemima Luke and she lived from 1813 to 1906.

There once was a time when Jemima heard a tune being played in a school; it was a Greek melody called "Salamis" and she thought it would make a lovely children's hymn. Well, one day in 1841 the words just came to her while she was riding alone in a stagecoach. She wrote them down on a wrinkled envelope she happened to have, taught the words and melody to her pupils, and the following Sunday they sang them in Sunday school! The children were happy and excited!

There was an international convention of the Christian Endeavor Society which was held in Baltimore in 1904. Jemima sent a message to the young people which I thought was so precious:

Dear children, you will be men and women soon, and it is for you and the children of England to carry the message of a Savior's love to every nation of this sin-stricken world.

The Lord make you ever faithful to Him and unspeakably happy in His service! I came to Him at ten years of age and at ninety-one can testify to His care and faithfulness.

Praise God. What words for any children to hear from someone who has been walking with Christ so many years--from ten years old to over ninety!. May we send such a message to the youth of today. Now here are the words of the hymn, many of which were scribbled on an old crumbled up piece of paper so many years ago:

I think, when I read that sweet story of old,
When Jesus was here among men,
How He called little children as lambs to His fold,
I should like to have been with them then.

I wish that His hands had been placed on my head,
That His arms had been thrown around me,
And that I might have seen His kind look when He said,
“Let the little ones come unto Me.”

Yet still to His foot stool in prayer I may go;
And ask for a share in His love;
And if I thus earnestly seek Him below,
I shall see Him and hear Him above.

But thousands and thousands who wander and fall,
Never heard of that heavenly home;
I wish they could know there is room for them all,
And that Jesus has bid them to come.

In that beautiful place He has gone to prepare
For all who are washed and forgiven;
And many dear children shall be with Him there,
For “of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

I long for the joy of that glorious time,
The sweetest and brightest and best,
When the dear little children of every clime
Shall crowd to His arms and be blest.


Teach it to your children, would you? The tune can be found here.

2 comments:

CONNIE'S THOUGHTS FROM THE HEART said...

It is a beautiful song and a beautiful post. It is such a pleasure to come here. I am always uplifted when I leave. You know so much about book and people. I thank you so much for sharing that knowledge with us. God bless you. connie from texas

I love children and children's songs.

Beverly said...

I've never heard of this hymn! I will go listen to the tune when I will not be disturbing E who is trying to work! What a neat story.