I’VE FOUND A FRIEND, O SUCH A FRIEND written in 1863
Sometimes the buddy-buddy approach to Christ causes our concept of God’s holiness to be diminished. But, when friendship with Christ is depicted as James Small (1817-1881) did in this hymn, Christ is exalted.
James, a minister in the Scottish Free Church, loved to write hymns. His first book was Hymns for Youthful Voices, published in 1859. This hymn, originally called “Jesus the Friend”, was published 4 years later in The Revival Hymnbook.
This hymn is filled with theological truths. From our standpoint, we sing “I’ve found a Friend”, but the truth is “He loved me ere I knew Him” and “He drew me with the cords of love”. Obviously, it is Jesus who initiates this friendship. The final verse concludes with a reference to Romans 8:35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
James concludes, “I am His forever”. Such a Friend is truly worth singing about!
Read this hymn, and – today – examine whether or not you are a friend of Jesus.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love, and thus He bound me to Him;
and ‘round my heart still closely twine those ties which nought can sever,
for I am His, and He is mine, forever and forever.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! He bled, He died to save me;
and not alone the gift of life, but His own Self He gave me!
Nought that I have my own I call, I hold it for the Giver:
my heart, my strength, my life, my all are His, and His forever.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! All pow’r to Him is given,
to guard me on my onward course, and bring me safe to heaven.
The promise of untold delights now cheers my weak endeavor:
So now to watch, to work, to fight; and then to rest forever.
I’ve found a Friend, O such a friend! So kind and true and tender,
so wise a Counselor and Guide, so mighty a Defender!
From Him who loves me now so well, what power my soul can sever?
Shall life or death? shall earth or hell? No! I am His forever.