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the Heavenly Father
Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg
"Children of the
Heavenly Father" was composed by Lina
Sandell (full name: Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg)
3, 1832 -
July 27, 1903), a Swedish writer
of Gospel hymns.
Wilhelmina Sandell in a rectory at Fröderyd,
Småland, Sweden. At the age of 26, she went with
her father Jonas Sandell, a Lutheran pastor of
the Lutheran church in Fröderyd on a boat trip
across Lake Vättern to Göteborg, during which he
fell overboard and drowned before her eyes. The
tragedy affected Lina, inspiring her to write
hymns. She wrote hymns and poured out her broken
heart in an endless stream of beautiful songs.
Oskar Ahnfelt played his guitar and sang Lina's
hymns throughout Scandinavia. She once said that
Ahnfelt sang her songs "Into the hearts of the
people". Even Jenny Lind, the world famous
concert vocalist, visited factories and sang
Lina's beautiful hymns. Sandell is known as the
Fanny Crosby of Sweden. In 1867 Lina married
C.O. Berg, a Stockholm Merchant, and thus became
Lina Sandell-Berg. She continued to
initial her hymns "L.S". Sandell wrote 650
hymns. Sandell died
July 27, 1903 in Stockholm,
Sweden. She is buried in Solna Kyrkogård -
Cemetery, Solna, Stockholmn Län, Sweden.
The lyrics were translated from Swedish to English by Ernst William
Olson. Olson’s family emigrated to America in 1875. He attended
Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He worked for
Swedish newspapers, and for a publisher in Chicago, and then
became editor of the Augustana Book Concern (1911-1949). He wrote
four original hymns, and translated almost 30 more. He was a
member of the Augustana Hymnal Committee, which published its
Hymnal and Order of Service in 1925, and was a member of the Joint
Commission on a Common Hymnal, which led to the publication of
the Service Book and Hymnal in 1958. In 1948, the King of Sweden made
Olson a knight of the Royal Order of Vasa.
The melody is Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara, a Swedish melody,
arranged by Oskar Ahnfelt (1813-1882). Sweden’s “Spiritual
Troubadour,” Ahnfelt composed or arranged the music for all of Lina
Sandell’s hymns. Like Sandell, he was a Pietist and traveled
throughout Scandinavia singing her hymns, accompanying himself
with a 10 string guitar. The state church opposed pietistic hymns
and ordered Ahnfelt to sing them before King Karl XV. After hearing
them, the king said, “You may sing as much as you desire in both of my
kingdoms.” He sang them so much that Sandell wrote, “Ahnfelt has sung
my songs into the hearts of the people.” Jenny Lind, the Swedish
Nightingale, was also a Pietist and popularized Sandell’s hymns
in America and wherever she sang. She also financed the first
edition of Ahnfelt’s songs, consisting mostly of Sandell’s hymns.
Children of the heav’nly
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.
God His own doth tend
Neither life nor death shall ever
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.
Though He giveth or He
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.
Lo, their very hairs He
Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing.
Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your Defender
Ev’ry foeman must surrender.