Some hymns (spiritual songs) are the best products ever produced by a human being. They are directly from the deepest part of the heart of saints.
“Jesus, the very thought of thee” is one of them.
This song was written by Bernard Clairvaux who lived 1090-1153, the Middle Ages of Europe. This bright shining hymn was composed during the spiritual deadness and moral darkness of the Middle Ages when the church had sunk to new depth of decay and deterioration.
Bernard Clairvaux is one of the most prominent personalities of the entire middle ages and of church history in general. He was a man of exceptional devotion and spiritual vitality. Endowed with a warm personality and a sharp intellect, he gave a new impulse to monastic life and contributed not a little toward the awakening of an inner devotion to God. Because of him, his monastery became known as the Valley of Light – Clairvaux. He inspired the masses by his powerful preaching and lead individual souls by his quiet conversations. If it were not for the monastic movement by saints like Bernard, there would not have been much spiritual light in the medieval Christianity.
The works of Bernard, besides being beautiful in form and composition, are distinguished by a tender and living feeling with a mystic fervor and holy love. This hymn is just like that, and is the best of the best.
He once wrote: “You want me to tell you why God is to be loved and how much? I answer: The reason for loving God is God Himself, and the measure of love due to Him is immeasurable love.”
Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.
Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest Name,
O Savior of mankind!
O Hope of every contrite heart,
O Joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!
But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but His loved ones know.
O Jesus! light of all below!
Thou fount of life and fire!
Surpassing all the joys we know,
And all we can desire.
No other source have we but Thee,
Soul-thirst to satisfy.
Exhaustless spring! the waters free!
All other streams are dry.
Jesus, our only Joy be Thou,
As Thou our Prize wilt be;
Jesus, be Thou our Glory now,
And through eternity.