Words: Jane Catharine Lundie Bonar, 1821-1884
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!
Tempt not my soul away, Jesus is mine!
Here would I ever stay, Jesus is mine!
Perishing things of clay, born but for one brief day,
Pass from my heart away, Jesus is mine!
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!
Farewell, mortality, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, eternity, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, oh, loved and blest, welcome sweet scenes of rest,
Welcome, my Savior’s breast, Jesus is mine!
I’ve been reflecting on these words all day. Thank God for such words of comfort. This hymn emphasizes the excellence that the knowledge of Jesus Christ should have in our lives as Christians. “Jesus Is Mine” was written by Catherine Jane (or Jane Catherine) Lundie Bonar, – the youngest daughter of Rev. Robert Lundie, of Kelso, Scotland. Bonar, Jane Catherine, was born at Kelso Manse in Kelso, Scotland, on the Tweed River not far from Melrose, in Dec. of 1821.
After losing her father and mother in 1832, Jane moved to a home in Edinburgh. In 1835, she was sent to a school in London. On her return, she spent much time with her sister Mary at the manse in Cleish until 1840, when Mary died. She then married a hymnist and became the wife of Dr. Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) in 1843, and died at Edinburgh December 3, 1885. Her husband was regarded as the greatest of evangelical Scottish preachers and hymn-writers. Mrs. Bonar, too, was a very gifted writer. After their marriage in 1843, they lived together for over forty years.
During that time, Catherine Jane stood with her husband, helping him in his work, supporting him in the battles that he fought, and generally sharing life’s sorrows and joys together with him, including the deaths of five of their children. This hymn, with its devotional thoughts, was produced in 1843 or 1844 and published in her husband’s Songs of the Wilderness the following year under the title “All in All” with the original first line, “Pass away, earthly joy.” Her older sister, Mary, who is credited with 23 hymns herself, was also married to a Scottish Presbyterian preacher, William Wallace Duncan of Cleith.
Couple of comments on the hymn.
The more we reflect about heaven, the more the attractions of earth begin to fade. A mark of a mature Christian faith is when we begin to affirm with the hymn writer Mrs Bonar that “Farewell, mortality, welcome eternity – Jesus is mine”.
Focusing our thoughts on heaven should not however become an excuse for neglecting our present realities. We need to be a part of the current world we live in and actively participate. We should not become the exact likeness of the old saying that talks about being so heavenly minded that we become of no earthly use or good. The expectations of heaven should rather be an incentive to live this life as a worthy representative for our Lord Jesus Christ so that we will hear him on that day say, “Well done … enter ye into the joy of thy Lord”. Mt 25:21.
Mrs Bonar’s hymn speaks of an intimate fellowship with our Lord both here and in eternity.
Stanza 1 suggests that Jesus should be more important to us than any earthly joy “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!”
The things of this earth are perishable: Mt. 6.19-20. Therefore, we need to look at the things which are not seen, rather than the things which are seen: 2 Cor. 4.16-18. Because this earth is a wilderness that has no resting place, we should set our affections on things above: Col. 3.1-3
Stanza 2 indicates that Jesus should be more important to us than anything that would tempt us away from Him “Tempt not my soul away, Jesus is mine! Here would I ever stay, Jesus is mine! Perishing things of clay, Born but for one brief day, Pass from my heart away, Jesus is mine!”
Jesus Himself was tempted, but resisted the devil so as to be without sin as our great example: Mt. 4.1-10, Heb. 4.14-16, 1 Pet. 2.20-21. Thus, by following His wonderful example, we too can overcome temptation and resist the devil: 1 Cor. 10.13, Jas. 4.7, 1 Pet. 5.8-9. We must never allow ourselves to be drawn away from Christ by yielding to the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life presented by the perishing things of clay: Jas. 1.12-16, 1 Jn. 2.15-17
Stanza 3 suggests that Jesus should be more important to us than whatever is found in the darkness of night “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!”
The sinful things of this world are characterized as the darkness of night, and the people of this world prefer them: Jn. 3.19-2. However, it is different, or should be, for those upon whose souls Christ has dawned: 2 Pet. 1.19. Thus, such individuals find that the world leaves a dismal void so they strive to walk in the light rather than in darkness: 1 Jn. 1.5-7
Stanza 4 says that Jesus should be more important to us than everything related to mortality “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!”
Mortality refers to that which is subject to death, the things of this physical life, and we must remember that what is mortal cannot inherit the kingdom of God: 1 Cor. 15.50-54. However, those who know Jesus Christ look forward to something better than and beyond this “vale of tears”: 1 Pet. 1.3-5. It will be then that we shall be welcomed to our Saviour’s beast to dwell with Him evermore: Matt. 25.21, 34
While this song has been in practically around for very long, my experience at least has been that it is not very well known or much used, even though I have tried to introduce it in places where I have been located. But it is a beautiful hymn that deserves more exposure than it has received because the intimate fellowship with Jesus in this life of which it speaks needs to be developed here so that we can enjoy it more fully in heaven. I need to be reminded that the only way which I can live this life in a manner pleasing to God and go to heaven is to be able to say with truth and trust that “Jesus Is Mine.”
Each of us was created for the purpose of enjoying the fellowship of Almighty God. Our souls were made for eternity, not for this brief earthly pilgrimage alone. The Christian life should be lived each day as though we were already enjoying the blessings of heaven. We deprive ourselves of one of life’s greatest treasures when we lose this perspective and become bogged down with the trivialities of earthly living.
An intimate fellowship with our LORD should produce at least three basic differences in our living:
• More humility – a greater realization of our finiteness and the need for dependence upon God.
• More happiness- a realization that this life has purpose and dignity as we represent God. And then a promised eternity in heaven with our Lord.
• More holiness – a greater desire to be a worthy representative for God and to live a life of absolute purity.