Keeping the Hymns Close By

Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting

Author – Jean Sophia Pigott, 1845 – 1882
Composer – James Mountain, 1844 – 1933
Written in 1876

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4

This hymn was a favorite of missionary, Hudson Taylor. The poem was written in 1876 by Jean Pigott, a poet and hymn lyricist, who was born and lived in Leixlip, Ireland.

James Mountain

Taylor had envisioned a missionary task greater than any since the days of Paul—the evangelization of China. He had established the China Inland Mission in 1865, but it almost proved his undoing. Overwhelmed by worry, work, and responsibility, he was near a breakdown when he received a letter from a fellow missionary, John McCarthy. In it, McCarthy spoke from John 15 about abiding in Christ.

“Abiding, not striving or struggling,” wrote McCarthy, “looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power…. This is not new, and yet ‘tis new to me…. Christ literally all seems to me now the power, the only power for service; the only ground for unchanging joy.”

As Taylor read this letter at his mission station in Chin-kiang on Saturday, September 4, 1869, his eyes were opened. “As I read,” he recalled, “I saw it all. I looked to Jesus, and when I saw, oh how the joy flowed!”

Writing to his sister in England, he said: “As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. The last month or more has been perhaps the happiest of my life. When the agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure, saw the light before I did, wrote: ‘But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith but by resting on the Faithful One.’

“As I read, I saw it all!!…As I thought of the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured into my soul!

The composer, James Mountain, was an English minister, writer, and musician. He also composed the music for “Like A River Glorious” (September 2019 Hymn of the Month), and “I Am His and He Is Mine” (September 2021 Hymn of the Month).

During the Boxer Rebellion Uprising in China as one report followed another of mission stations being destroyed and missionaries massacred, this hymn became a great comfort to Taylor and the missionaries around him. They sang it often. Pigott’s own brother, Thomas, a missionary to China, was killed in the rebellion.

Taken from Then Sings My Soul Keepsake Edition by Robert J. Morgan Copyright © 2011 Robert J. Morgan. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. Taken from Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Copyright © 1990, 2002 by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.