Posted by: rcottrill | February 14, 2018

In the Heart of Jesus

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Words: Alice Pugh (no information)
Music: Charles Henry Forrest (b. _____, 1846; d. _____, 1925)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: There are some of our hymns that are labeled “Anonymous,” or “Author Unknown.” This is almost the case here. Nothing is known of Alice Pugh (likely pronounced Pew)–even supposing that’s a real name, and not simply someone’s pen name. The composer, Charles Henry Forrest, was an Englishman, and he has several hymn tunes to his credit. The earliest publications of the song misprinted his name as Forrast.

We have many quaint sayings that come from long ago. For instance, when someone says or does exactly the right thing we may say he or she hit the nail on the head.

That’s an axiom that’s been in use for over five centuries. Around 1438, a woman named Margery Kempe wrote, in old English, “I xal [shall] so smytyn ye nayl on ye hed.” To miss the nail with the hammer not only fails to get the job done, it can do harm to whatever is mistakenly struck.

Think of that in terms of what we do and say. Wise and gracious words, and “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), can hit the nail on the head. So can kindly actions. But the opposite can bring discouragement and hurt feelings to others. By the grace of God, let’s be those who build others up with words and actions (Eph. 4:31-32).

That thought came to mind as I read the text of this lovely hymn, published in 1916. As noted above, nothing is known of the author other than her name, Alice Pugh. However, the simple words contain truths that should bless and encourage any child of God. Give a moment’s thought to the four stanzas and you will see.

CH-1) In the heart of Jesus, there is love for you,
Love most pure and tender, love most deep and true;
Why should you be lonely, why for friendship sigh,
When the heart of Jesus has a full supply?

Good question. Yes, we need human companionship too. The Lord knows that (Gen. 2:18). But in times when it’s in short supply, we have the assurance of the abiding love of the Lord. “God so loved the world” of human beings that He sent His Son to die for our sins, so that we might have life eternal (Jn. 3:16). And, “the Son of God…loved me [personally and individually] and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:10).

CH-2) In the mind of Jesus there is thought for you,
Warm as summer sunshine, sweet as morning dew;
Why should you be fearful, why take anxious thought,
Since the mind of Jesus cares for those He bought?

That’s plain logic. If the Lord sacrificed so much to save us, it must mean that He has a great and eternal purpose for us. As He said to Israel, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). “Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You” (Ps. 31:19).

Then, Alice Pugh speaks of opportunities for Christian service.

CH-3) In the field of Jesus there is work for you;
Such as even angels might rejoice to do;
Why stand idly sighing for some life-work grand,
While the field of Jesus seeks your reaping hand?

We are to “serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps. 100:2). And that service will be unique to each of us, because God gifts each one with particular skills and opportunities. “As each one has received a gift, minister [serve with] it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Pet. 4:10).

Finally, the hymn anticipates the perfections and multiplied blessings of our heavenly home.

CH-4) In the home of Jesus there’s a place for you;
Glorious, bright, and joyous, calm and peaceful, too;
Why then, like a wanderer, roam with weary pace,
If the home of Jesus holds for you a place?

As the Lord Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And…I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2-3). And in that home, “There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

Wise words all, that hit the nail on the head!

Questions:
1) Which of the four stanzas of Alice Pugh’s hymn is most encouraging to you at this time?

2) Who in your circle of acquaintances needs words of comfort and kindness today? (Will you share them?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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