My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.
For Thee all the pleasures of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I will love Thee in life; I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath.
In mansions of Glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee and dwell in Thy sight.
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow:
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.”
Such words seem not what one would expect from a 16-year-old boy, but indeed they were written by William Ralph Featherston, a teenager in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This is the only hymn he is known to have written, and he lived just from 1846-1873. William attended the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and may have written this poem to celebrate his conversion to Christ. It is reported that he sent the poem to his aunt in California, and somehow it was published anonymously in a British hymnal in 1864. The tune first used is the one mentioned in a previous post here – for the words of “O Boundless Salvation”, William Booth’s famous song. Featherston’s poem is also sung to the lovely hymn tunes, “Gordon” and “Unsworth”, and has been adapted to other melodies, such as “Flow Gently, Sweet Afton” and “The Blackbird”. Did William Featherston write these thoughts about death because he knew his own life would be short? He certainly would not have known how much his hymn would be loved and sung by thousands, and how God would use it to bless many.Such words seem not what one would expect from a 16-year-old boy Click To Tweet