Scripture Verse

Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Luke 18:16

Introduction

Words: Ju­lia Gill, in The Gold­en Cen­ser (New York: Will­iam B. Brad­bu­ry, 1864), pag­es 28–29.

Music: Cay­man Will­iam B. Brad­bu­ry (🔊 pdf nwc).

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

portrait
William B. Bradbury (1816–1868)

Background

Extract from a le­tter from Rev. Wm. Good­ell, D.D., of Con­stan­ti­no­ple, Tur­key, to Rev. Dr. Prime, of New York:

I come to ask a spe­cial favor of you, viz.: that you will see that sweet sing­er in Is­ra­el and com­pos­er, Mr.—, and ask him to make a tune for that beau­ti­ful hymn be­gin­ning with The Mas­ter hath come ov­er Jor­dan. The tune should be a very sim­ple one and suit­ed to the po­pu­lar ear, that all the Chris­tian mo­thers in the world may learn to sing it by hear­ing it once. We shall pray that Bro­ther— may be where John was on the Lord’s day (not in ex­ile, but in the Spir­it); and may be as­sist­ed to make a tune which shall be sung in ev­ery land by ev­ery tongue, not on­ly till the be­gin­ning of the Mil­len­ni­um, but straight through till the ve­ry end of it, and ev­en far be­yond.

The Gold­en Cen­ser, 1864, p. 28

Lyrics

The Mas­ter has come over Jor­dan,
Said Han­nah, the mo­ther, one day,
He is heal­ing the people who throng Him,
With a touch of His fin­ger, they say;
And now I shall car­ry the child­ren—
Little Ra­chel, and Sa­mu­el, and John,
And dear lit­tle Esther, the ba­by,
For the Mas­ter to look up­on.

The fa­ther then looked at her kind­ly,
And said, as he ten­der­ly smiled,
Now who but a fond lov­ing mo­ther
Would think of a pro­ject so wild?
If the child­ren were tor­tured by de­mons,
Or dy­ing with fe­ver, ’twere well;
Or had they taint of the le­per,
Like ma­ny around us who dwell.

Nay, nay, do not hin­der me, Na­than,
I feel such a bur­den of care;
And if to the Mas­ter I tell it,
That bur­den He’ll help me to bear;
If He but lays His hands on the child­ren,
My heart will be light­er, I know,
For a bless­ing for ev­er and ev­er
Will fol­low them each as they go.

So, ov­er the mount­ains of Ju­dah,
Along with the vines all so green,
With Es­ther asleep on her bo­som,
And Ra­chel her bro­thers between;
With the peo­ple who hung on His teach­ing,
Or wait­ed His touch or His word;
Through the row of proud Pha­ri­sees hast­en­ing,
She pressed to the feet of the Lord.

Now, why shouldst thou hin­der the Mas­ter,
Said Pe­ter, with child­ren like these?
Thou know­est from morn un­til ev­en­ing
He is teach­ing and heal­ing dis­ease.

Said Je­sus: For­bid not the child­ren,
Permit them to come un­to Me!

Then He took in His arms lit­tle Es­ther,
And Ra­chel He sat on His knee.

The care-strick­en heart of the mo­ther
Was lift­ed all sor­row above;
His hands kind­ly laid on the child­ren,
He blest them with ho­li­est love;
And said of the babes on His bo­som,
Of such are the king­dom of Hea­ven.
Then the strength for all du­ty and tri­al,
That hour to her spir­it was giv­en.