“He Loved Me So”

"Greater love hath no man than this…" (Jn. 15.13)

     INTRO.: A song which reminds us of the love that Jesus had for us that He came to earth to be our Savior and died for us is "He Loved Me So" or in some books entitled "Because He Loved Me So," and in others identified by its first line, "Why Did My Savior Come To Earth?" (#166 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #301 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune (Dailey or Love Song) was composed both by James Gerald Dailey, who was born in 1854. Little information is available about him or the origin of the song. At one time, he was a resident of Philadelphia, PA, and in the 1880’s was active in publishing temperance songs, as reported by George Ewing in The Well-Tempered Lyre, published at Dallas, TX, by the SMU Press.

     In 1882, Dailey provided a tune for the gospel song "Whiter than the Snow," with text beginning, "Fear not, little flock, says the Savior divine," by Mary Ann Kidder (1820-1905). "He Loved Me So" was produced and copyrighted in 1892 while Dailey was living in Philadelphia.  He seems to have been a member of the church of Christ. Sometimes afterwards, the copyright was obtained by the Gospel Advocate Co. of Nashville, TN, and they renewed it in 1920. It appeared in their book Sweeter Than All Songs, compiled by C. M. Pullias in 1927.

     By 1900 Dailey was living at Fredonia in Chautauqua County, NY.  Another of his hymns, "The Comfort Song," beginning, "Our Father declared of the Savior above," was copyrighted in 1911, also with the Gospel Advocate Co. listed as owner, and appeared in their Christian Hymns (No. 1), published in 1935 and edited by C. M. Pullias and Lloyd Otis Sanderson (1901-1992). The date and place of Dailey’s death are unknown. I did several references to a piece of "rare sheet music" entitled "My America" and dated 1916 by James Gerald Daily for sale at at a number of websites, so he must have died sometime after 1916.

     Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ during the twentieth century, the song has appeared in most including the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1938 Spiritual Melodies edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater.  Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

     It emphasizes some of the results of the love that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has for us.

I. In stanza 1 we learn that because of His love Jesus as the Savior came to earth
"Why did my Savior come to earth, And to the humble go?
Why did He choose a lowly birth? Because He loved me so!"
 A. My Savior came to earth in that the Word who was with God and was God became flesh and dwelt among us: Jn. 1.1, 14
 B. When He thus came, He did not come among the rich and powerful, but in humble circumstances: Lk. 9.58
 C. Also, He chose a lowly birth, being born of a virgin as prophesied in the Old Testament: Matt. 1.22-23

II. In stanza 2 we learn that because of His love Jesus as the Savior died on the cross
"Why did He drink the bitter cup Of sorrow, pain, and woe?
Why on the cross be lifted up? Because He loved me so!"
 A. Jesus Himself identified His sufferings as a cup of which He must drink: Matt. 20.22
 B. Some of His sorrow, pain, and woe were experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane: Matt. 26.38-39
 C. But the ultimate expression of His love for us is that He was lifted up on the cross: Matt. 27.26-50 (26, 31-35, 50)

III. In stanza 3 we learn that because of His love Jesus as the Savior makes it possible for us to look and live
"And now He bids me look and live, And by His grace to know,
A home in glory He will give, Because He loved me so!"
 A. Just as God’s love for the people of Israel allowed Moses to put up the bronze serpent so that they could look and live, so Jesus would be lifted up that we might live: Num. 21.9, Jn. 12.32
 B. Therefore, our salvation is dependent upon His grace: Eph. 2.5-6
 C. Also, it is by the word of His grace that we can have an inheritance in glory: Acts 20.28
IV. In stanza 4 we learn that because of His love Jesus as the Savior offers us the hope of being with Him in glory
"Till Jesus comes I’ll sing His praise, And then to glory go,
And reign with Him through endless days, Because He loved me so!"
 A. Sometimes this hymn is used to prepare the minds of a congregation for eating the Lord’s supper, and this is a very fitting stanza to include because in the Lord’s supper we remember Christ’s death "till He comes": 1 Cor. 11.26
 B. The hope of Christians is that when Christ comes, we can go to be with Him in glory: 1 Thess. 4.16-17
 C. Many of our hymnbooks have changed the third line to read, "And live with Him through endless days," apparently because they think that we shall not reign with Christ after His second coming, perhaps considering that idea to be associated with premillennialism. However, the Bible pictures the redeemed by the river of life reigning forever and ever: Rev. 22.1-5
     CONCL.: The chorus reemphasizes the fact that Jesus did all this because of His love for us:
"He loved me so; He loved me so;
He gave His precious life for me, Because He loved me so."
The Bible certainly focuses on the love of Christ as the basis for our salvation and hope (Jn. 3.16, Rev. 1.5-6). Every day I should be thankful for these wonderful results of Jesus’s love. Therefore, when I eat the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, and at other times as well when I read the scriptures or meditate upon my redemption, I can be reminded of what my Savior Jesus did for me because "He Loved Me So."


2 thoughts on ““He Loved Me So”

  1. James Gerald Dailey had some talent for composition and music publishing, and would spend his life between several locations as he spread the message of God through the music he must have loved. But, what was he encountering in 1892 that made him ask questions and dwell on the answer he found?

    A few details of James G. Dailey’s life are known that tell us he was someone who wanted to propagate the truth about God through the music medium in the eastern United States in the latter 19th and early 20th Centuries. He was born in Delaware in the mid-1850’s, and must have lost his father early on in life, as he is known to have moved with his mother to Brockwayville (known today probably as Brockway), Pennsylvania around age 18. It’s a small town in north-central Pennsylvania, not far from Punxsutawney, and today is part of the national historic culture of that region because of a nearby railroad and its many stops near there (like the one pictured in nearby Scottsville here in 1874, as it might have appeared to the Daileys). What would make this mother and her son go to a small town like Brockway is not known. Perhaps they had a family connection there. We can guess that his mother may have played an influential part in his musical development, one which led him to write some 15-20 songs over his life, and publish at least three works, including one of which compiled some songs for use in worship while he and his mother lived in this small-town environment. It was during the Daileys’ life there that James also composed his hymn with the question mark. Later on, in the latter years of the 1800s and early 1900s, James lived in Freedonia, New York and then in Philadelphia. He apparently especially appreciated the God-Son’s love for him by the time he was 38 years old, as he marked 20 years of living with his mom in small-town north-central Pennsylvania

    See following sites for brief details on the composer:

    James Gerald Dailey
    Circa 1854-?
    Courtesy of the Cyber Hymnal™

    Born: Circa March 1854, Del­a­ware (was liv­ing in New Cas­tle Coun­ty in 1860).

    Dailey moved to Brock­way­ville, Penn­syl­van­ia, with his mo­ther in 1872, and was still there as of 1892. In 1900 he was in Fre­don­ia Vil­lage, New York, and in Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia, in 1910 & 1920. His works in­clude:

    •A Col­lec­tion of Gos­pel, Tem­per­ance, and Pro­hi­bi­tion Songs, What’s the News (Brock­way­ville, Penn­syl­van­ia: 1888)
    •Love (Brock­way­ville, Penn­syl­van­ia: 1892)
    •Prohibition Chimes for Tem­per­ance, Pro­hi­bition and All Re­form Meet­ings (New York: Dai­ley & Mead, 1900)

    1.Hark, I Hear a Warn­ing Voice
    2.I Have a Song I Love to Sing
    3.In This World of Sin and Sor­row
    4.Jesus of Naz­a­reth, King of the Jews
    5.O the Sor­row, Pain and Woe
    6.Our Sav­ior De­clared of the Fa­ther Above
    7.Sinner, Thy Sav­ior Is Call­ing
    8.Someone Is Sink­ing
    9.There’s a Prom­ise in God’s Word
    10.There’s No Light in the Win­dow for Me
    11.Thy Grace, O My Sav­ior
    12.Toiling Up the Hill­side
    13.’Twas an In­spir­a­tion of Di­vine Cre­a­tion
    14.What Though My Foes Should
    15.When Mo­ses Led His Peo­ple
    16.Why Did My Sav­ior Come to Earth?
    17.Yes, the So­rrow, Pain and Woe



  2. More information:


    James Gerald Dailey was born March 22 1854 in Rockland, Delaware, north of Wilmington (“James Gerald Dailey, Sr.,” FindAGrave.com) to Irish immigrants James and Eliza Dailey. His father passed away when James was only four, and the family relocated to the western end of the state, settling in “Brockwayville,” as Brockway, Pennsylvania was then called (“Eliza Dailey,” FindAGrave.com). In the 1870 census James is listed as an apprentice shoemaker, and curiously, is indicated to be “blind, deaf, insane, or idiotic” (1870 census). There is no other information that Dailey had any such disabilities, so this remains a mystery. By 1876 he had married (1900 census), and the 1880 census shows him to have been working as a shoemaker in Brockway for a time, supporting his widowed mother in his household.

    How and where Dailey acquired his musical training is yet to be discovered; but his rise in the field of sacred music coincided with the rise of the temperance movement, with which he held a lifelong association. In a New York Times article from 28 October 1887 describing the traveling tent-meetings of the Prohibition Party, we find this (rather snarky) report of James G. Dailey’s leading a Sunday service:
    The Professor’s presence is calculated to lend sanctity to Gospel temperance meetings such as were held on Sundays in the tent. It diffuses also the solemnity necessary to the success of secular gatherings. He is tall and dark-complexioned, and has a mournful expression which well befits an evangelist wedded to his calling. His voice is mellow and melodious, two qualities indispensable to a singer of sweet prohibition songs.
    Times reporters could make fun all they wished; Dailey was becoming known for his temperance songs, which led to a string of publications:
    The 1910 census shows that Dailey eventually settled in Philadelphia, a center of music publishing. Though he is remembered today for his hymn tunes–including the winsome music for “Why did my Savior come to earth”–he was best known in his own time for the temperance songs.


    James Gerald Dailey, Sr
    BIRTH 22 Mar 1854
    Rockland, New Castle County, Delaware, USA
    DEATH 15 Nov 1927 (aged 73)
    Millbourne, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
    Mount Moriah Cemetery
    Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA


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