The Lily of the Valley

Words by C. W. Fry Arr. by Ira D. Sankey

"I've found a friend in Jesus,—
He's everything to me.”

A young Jewess had been converted in London through her German governess. She had been forbidden to read the New Testament by her parents, who were ardent Jews; but while reading Isaiah 53 she found the Messiah, and was soon expelled from her home. She then went to Germany, and herself acted as governess for several years. When she heard of Mr. Moody's work at Northfield, she decided to go there. Having been entertained in London for a few weeks by Mr. Denny, a prominent layman, this gentleman asked me one day in London, as I was about to sail for America, if I would see her safely across the ocean, which I promised to do. In Louisville she first saw Mr. Moody. On leaving Louisville she went to New York and applied to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions for appointment as a foreign missionary. There being some delay in accepting her application, she decided to go with the Rev. Hudson Taylor, whom she had met at Northfield. On arriving in China she adopted the garb of the Chinese women, and became a faithful and useful worker. After two years she was married to a missionary from Scotland. They are still engaged in missionary work in Northern China.

“Auntie, please sing ' Lily of the Valley,' said a little girl of six, as she stood by the piano in company with a number of other children on a Sunday evening. In a few minutes all present were singing:

"I've found a friend in Jesus, He's everything to me; He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;" and the little one, who knew only the chorus, joined in heartily with the rest, her clear voice ringing out sweetly amid those of the older children. When her auntie would play on the piano she would always run to her and beg for one or another of her favorite hymns, but her favorite was, ”Lily of the Valley, ”and she never tired of hearing it. The following winter was a very severe one, and this little girl was stricken with diphtheria. Nothing would soothe her but to have her mother sing to her. Over and over again the mother would sing all the songs she knew, but specially ”The Lily of the Valley. ”One morning, soon after dawn, the child seemed to be a little brighter, and tried to raise her hand, as though she wished to speak. Tenderly the mother asked what she wanted and the girl whispered, ”Sing ' The Lily of the Valley' once more. ”With tears streaming down her cheeks the mother attempted to sing the first verse and the chorus. A smile broke over the little one's face, and as her head dropped back on the pillow her spirit went out into the bosom of Him, who is indeed the ”Lily of the Valley and the fairest of ten thousand. ”Bitter indeed were their tears when they realized that their darling was no more; but their sorrow was lightened by the knowledge that she was free from pain, and they will always treasure with her memory the hymn she loved so well.

Mr. Fry is one of the leaders of the Salvation Army in London. In addition to writing the words, he also set the hymn to music, and later arranged it to slower time and published it in Gospel Hymns.