May 30, 2008


Official Name: Joseph Medlicott Scriven
Year of Birth: 1820
Year of Demise: 1886

John 15:13: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

“What a friend we have in Jesus!” Millions around the world have derived the peace that passeth all understanding from the song sung over and over again. This song evolved from endless hours spent before the throne.

Joseph M. Scriven was born in Dublin, Ireland. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, and went to Canada when he was 25.

As an Irish settler in the New World, he had to go through his own lot of struggles. He went through indescribable grief when he lost his fiancĂ©e on the eve of their marriage, as she accidentally drowned a few hours before their wedding. No human words or emotions would make up for his loss. He took refuge in heavenly realms and this is rightly reflected in the words, “In His arms He’ll take and shield thee; Thou wilt find a solace there.”

He was away from home for so long and he often thought of his mother, whom he had to leave behind. He composed this hymn for his mother, to comfort her in a time of special sorrow. He never intended that this song should be seen by anyone, save mother and son.

Scriven soon fell ill and while on his deathbed, one of his visitors found the manuscript and asked. “Are you the author of this lovely poem?" "The Lord and I did it together" was the reply. Such was the depth of his relationship with Christ.

His illness turned for the worse and there at Port Hope, on Lake Ontario, Scriven went to be with his Best Friend, in I886. This song was orig­in­al­ly pub­lished anon­y­mous­ly, and did not see daylight for many year. Finally 30 years later, this song was fully credited to Scriv­en.

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