Scripture Verse

We believe that Jesus died and rose again. Even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:14


Words: Mar­ga­ret Mac­kay, in The Ame­thyst; or Chris­tian’s An­nu­al, 1832. The in­tro­duc­tion to the hymn reads: Sleep­ing in Je­sus. By Mrs. Mac­kay of Hedge­field. This sim­ple but ex­press­ive sen­tence is in­scribed on a tomb­stone in a rur­al bu­ry­ing ground in De­von­shire, and gave rise to the fol­low­ing vers­es.

Music: Rest (Brad­bu­ry) Wil­liam B. Brad­bu­ry, 1843 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Mac­kay (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

William B. Bradbury (1816–1868)

Origin of the Hymn

I had been driv­en in a friend’s po­ny-car­riage through some of the ex­quis­ite green lanes in Dev­on­shire, wrote the au­thor of this hymn the year be­fore her death. “We paused at Pen­ny­cross, at­tract­ed by a rur­al bu­ri­al ground, and went in to look at the graves. It was a place of such sweet, en­tire re­pose as to leave a last­ing im­pres­sion on the me­mo­ry.

There were no ar­ti­fi­cial walks or de­co­ra­tions, but the grass was ve­ry green, and there no un­sight­ly signs of ne­glect. On one of the stones were the words, Sleep­ing in Je­sus. It was in such en­tire keep­ing with the love­ly and peace­ful sur­round­ings that it clung to my thoughts. On ar­riv­ing at home I took a pen­cil and com­menced writ­ing the hymn, lit­tle think­ing that it would be in­scribed on ma­ny tomb­stones.

Sankey, pp. 130–31


Asleep in Je­sus! Bless­èd sleep,
From which none ev­er wakes to weep;
A calm and un­dis­turbed re­pose,
Unbroken by the last of foes.

Asleep in Je­sus! Oh, how sweet,
To be for such a slum­ber meet,
With ho­ly con­fi­dence to sing
That death has lost his ven­omed sting!

Asleep in Je­sus! Peace­ful rest,
Whose wak­ing is su­preme­ly blessed;
No fear, no woe, shall dim that hour
That ma­ni­fests the Sav­ior’s pow­er.

Asleep in Je­sus! Oh, for me
May such a bless­èd re­fuge be!
Securely shall my ash­es lie
And wait the su­mmons from on high.

Asleep in Je­sus! time nor space
Debars this pre­cious hid­ing place;
On In­di­an plains or Lap­land snows
Believers find the same re­pose.

Asleep in Je­sus! Far from thee
Thy kin­dred and their graves may be;
But there is still a bless­èd sleep,
From which none ev­er wakes to weep.