Scripture Verse

We love Him because He first loved us.@1 John 4:19

Introduction

illustration
Crowning with Thorns
Antony van Dyck (1599–1641)

Words: Will­iam R. Fea­ther­ston, 1864. Fea­ther­ston was on­ly 16 years old at the time.

Music: Gor­don Ado­ni­ram J. Gor­don, 1876 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you have ac­cess to a pic­ture of Featherston, would you send us an e-mail?

portrait
Adoniram J. Gordon
(1836–1895)

A Pro­test­ant Epis­co­pal bi­shop of Mi­chigan once re­lat­ed the fol­low­ing in­ci­dent to a large au­di­ence in one of the Rev. E. P. Ham­mond’s meetings in St. Louis[, Mis­sou­ri].

A young, tal­ent­ed and ten­der-heart­ed ac­tress was pass­ing along the street of a large ci­ty.

See­ing a pale, sick girl ly­ing upon a couch just with­in the half-op­en door of a beau­ti­ful dwell­ing, she en­tered, with the thought that by her vi­va­ci­ty and plea­sant con­ver­sa­tion she might cheer the young in­va­lid.

The sick girl was a de­vot­ed Chris­tian, and her words, her pa­tience, her sub­mis­sion and hea­ven-lit coun­te­nance so de­mon­strat­ed the spir­it of her re­li­gion that the ac­tress was led to give some ear­nest thought to the claims of Chris­ti­a­ni­ty, and was tho­rough­ly con­vert­ed, and be­came a true fol­low­er of Christ.

She told her fa­ther, the leader of the the­a­ter troupe, of her con­ver­sion, and of her de­sire to aban­don the stage, stat­ing that she could not live a con­sist­ent Chris­tian life and fol­low the life of an ac­tress.

Her fa­ther was as­ton­ished be­yond mea­sure, and told his daugh­ter that their liv­ing would be lost to them and their bu­si­ness ru­ined, if she per­sist­ed in her re­so­lu­tion.

Lov­ing her fa­ther dear­ly, she was shak­en some­what in her pur­pose, and par­tial­ly con­sent­ed to fill the pub­lished en­gage­ment to be met in a few days. She was the star of the troupe, and a gen­er­al fa­vo­rite.

Every pre­pa­ra­tion was made for the play in which she was to ap­pear. The e­ven­ing came and the fa­ther re­joiced that he had won back his daugh­ter, and that their liv­ing was not to be lost.

The hour ar­rived; a large audience had as­sem­bled. The cur­tain rose, and the young ac­tress stepped for­ward firm­ly amid the ap­plause of the mul­ti­tude.

But an un­wont­ed light beamed from her beau­ti­ful face. Amid the breath­less si­lence of the au­di­ence, she re­peated:

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

This was all. Through Christ she had con­quered and, leav­ing the au­di­ence in tears, she re­tired from the stage, ne­ver to ap­pear up­on it again.

Through her in­flu­ence her fa­ther was con­vert­ed, and through their unit­ed ev­an­gel­is­tic la­bors ma­ny were led to God.”

Sankey, pp. 198–99

Lyrics

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.