On one occasion when Mr. Moorehouse and I were holding meetings at Scarboro, in the north of England, the services were attended by a number of Quaker ladies, among them a cousin of John Bright, the great English statesman. Wishing to have this hymn sung at one of the meetings, this lady wrote out the following request: ”Will Mr. Sankey please repeat the hymn, 'I've found a Friend,' in his usual way? ”In thus wording her note she avoided asking me to sing, which is against the custom of the Society of Friends.
“We were holding a cottage prayer-meeting in a lodging house, ”says a minister of Nottinghamshire, England,” when a young man lodging there came in to the meeting in a fun-seeking manner. We sang, prayed and read a chapter out of God's Word, and then the young man asked if we would sing a hymn for him. He chose ' I've found a Friend, oh, such a Friend.' When we had sung one verse he began to shed tears, and I am glad to say that he gave his heart to God through the singing of that beautiful hymn. The next morning he left the place, but before leaving he wrote me a letter, of which I give these extracts:' I asked you to sing that hymn because it was a favorite of my darling sister, who is waiting for me at the gates in heaven. I have now promised to meet her there. By God's help, if we do not meet again on earth, I promise to meet you in heaven. You will always think of me when you sing, ”I've Found a Friend. ”Show this letter to my two other friends.'"
The author of this hymn, the Rev. J. G. Small, who was born in Edinburgh in 1817, and died in 1888, wrote many hymns and poems and published several hymn-books.