Posted by: rcottrill | July 10, 2013

Fade, Fade, Each Earthly Joy

Words: Jane Catharine Lundie Bonar (b. Dec. _____, 1821; d. Dec. 3, 1884)
Music: Lundie, by Theodore Edson Perkins (b. July 21, 1831; d. ________?)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Jane Catharine Lundie wrote this hymn in 1843. She married famed Scottish preacher and hymn writer Horatius Bonar that same year. Though he was thirteen years her senior, they had a loving marriage, and fruitful ministry together for over four decades. She wrote other hymns, but Mrs. Bonar is chiefly remembered for this one, originally entitled “Jesus, All in All.” (In the Cyber Hymnal it’s called Jesus Is Mine.)

The tune for the hymn uses Jane Bonar’s maiden name, Lundie. Mr. Perkins was an accomplished musician, the son of an American clergyman. Though I’ve been unable to find the date of his death, he continued writing and publishing music through to 1896. That seems to be the latest date we have for him.

CH-1) Fade, fade, each earthly joy, Jesus is mine!
Break every tender tie, Jesus is mine!
Dark is the wilderness,
Earth has no resting place,
Jesus alone can bless, Jesus is mine!

There are some things that contrast so sharply we might be inclined to say there’s simply no comparison between them. A wide distinction is evident between dreams and reality, life and death, time and eternity, God and man.

And here’s another dramatic contrast. In his letter to the believers at Philippi, the Apostle Paul contrasts his value system before he met Christ and afterward. Paul, who in his early days went by the name of Saul, was extremely proud of his Jewish heritage. He tells the Philippians he was:

“Circumcised the eighth day [as the Mosaic Law commanded], of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews [i.e. both of his parents were Jewish], concerning the Law a Pharisee [the strictest sect of the Jews]; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless” (Phil. 3:5-6).

When he compared himself with others back then, he was convinced he was doing extremely well. But all of that changed on the Damascus Road, when he came face to face with the risen, glorified Christ (Acts 9:1-6). He understood then that Jesus of Nazareth, whose followers he had so resolutely opposed, was none other than God the Son incarnate, Israel’s Messiah, and the Saviour of the world. In the light of that glorious Presence, he prostrated himself and humbly asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10).

In that moment his entire value system was transformed. Suddenly, nothing and no one seemed as important as knowing Christ and serving Him. As the apostle expressed it:

“What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8).

That is the essence of a Christ-centred life, and its reward is nothing less than intimate and eternal fellowship with the Lord Himself. It’s a relationship weakly foreshadowed in the words of Solomon’s betrothed, in the Song of Solomon, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (S.S. 6:3). More pertinently, think of the words of Thomas, as he bowed humbly before the risen Christ, and acclaimed Him, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn. 20:28).

It is an outlook that Jane Bonar expresses so beautifully and passionately in her hymn, repeating twelve times the key phrase, “Jesus is mine.” Though many things (even good things) crowd into our days, our desire should be “that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). By comparison, the things of this world are merely “perishing things of clay, born but for one brief day” (CH-2).

CH-3) Farewell, ye dreams of night, Jesus is mine!
Lost in this dawning bright, Jesus is mine!
All that my soul has tried
Left but a dismal void;
Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine!

Many years ago, when a young pastor lay dying, he urged those gathered around his bed not to weep for him, but rather to sing a hymn. And this was the hymn he asked for. As he passed into eternity, and into the presence of his Saviour, the hymn was sung (though tearfully).

CH-4) Farewell, mortality, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, eternity, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, oh, loved and blest,
Welcome sweet scenes of rest,
Welcome, my Saviour’s breast, Jesus is mine!

1) What harm does it do when other things compete for and divert the Christian’s love and loyalty to Christ?

2) What must we do to keep Christ at the centre of our daily lives?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. I sang this hymn over and over again and i am never tired because it brings with it the hope, joy, and rest of heaven that sends such a shock through my soul and an unexplicable tears from eyes. I pray that God will help me to remain stedfast till the end

    • Thanks for your comments. There are hymns that strike me at a deeply emotional level too. Come, Ye Disconsolate is one of them. It is the strength of great hymns, that they not only present the truth of God’s Word, but help us to express our feelings about it.

  2. Super hymn fitting for every moment. This hymn is a food not only to the weak, but to all whose passion is on material things that will soon pass away. In fact,the hymn is a binding wire, keeping and strengthening our faith on Jesus Christ.


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