William Garrett Horder.

The hymn lover: an account of the rise and growth of English hymnody online

. (page 17 of 37)
Online LibraryWilliam Garrett HorderThe hymn lover: an account of the rise and growth of English hymnody → online text (page 17 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

lovely hymn full of a quiet earnestness, written in 1853,
which begins "In the dark and cloudy day." A
poet-artist, who has been fortunate enough to win
the benediction of John Euskin, says that this hymn
brought to him some of the sweet repose George Herbert
is wont to give.

In the dark and dondy day,
When earth's riohes flee away,
And the last hope will not stay, —
My Saviour, comfort me.

When the seoret idol's gone,
That my poor heart yearned upon.
Desolate, bereft alone,
My Saviour, oomfort me.

Thou who wast so sorely tried,
In the. darkness crndfied.
Bid me in Thy love confide :
My Saviour, comfort me.

In these honrs of sad distress,

Let me know He loves no less,

Bid me trost His faithfulness ;

My Saviour, oomfort me.

Not unduly let me grieve.
Meekly the kind stripes receive,
Let me humbly still believe ;
My Saviour, oomfort me.

So it shall be good for me
Much afflicted now to be,
If Thou wilt but tenderly,
My Saviour, comfort me.

Beautiful as it is, it is not equal to Heirick's Litany, as


by Google


oar readers may see if they refer to page 75 of this work,

whiek sorely must have been in Mr. Bawscm's mind at t^e

time he wrote the foregoing hymn. Most akin in form

and spirit to the hymn I have quoted is what is perhaps

Mr. Eawson's best-known one, a Litany to the

Comforter ; of which, the Hon. Boden Noel says, <' It is

a hymn one prizes greatly." Indeed, the Litany f<nia

seems specially suited to Mr. Rawson's genius.

Gome to our poor nature's night,
With Thy bleaNd inward light,
Holy Ghoet, the infinite ;
Comforter Divine.

We are Binfol— deanse us, Lord,
Sick and faint — Thy strength afford.
Lost — until by Thee restored.
Comforter Divine.

Orphans are our souls, and poor,
Give us from Thy heavenly store,
Faith, love, joy, for evermore.
Comforter Divine.

Like the de^v Thy peace distil ;
Guide, subdue our wayward will,
Things of Christ unfolding still.
Comforter Divine.

Gentle, awful, holy Guest,
Make Thy temple in each breast ;
There Thy presence be confessed.
Comforter Divine.

With us, for us, intercede.
And with voiceless groanings plead.
Our unutterable need,
Comforter Divine

In^ ♦ Abba, Father.* cr\-.
Earnest of the bliss on high ;
Seal of immortaltty.
Comforter Divine.

Search for us the depths of God ;
Upwards bv the starry road,
Bear us to Thy high aboie,
Comforter Divine.


by Google


But whilst Mr. Rawson often owes his inspiration to the
hymns of previous writers, he is far from being a mere
imitator. In his writings we notice some of the most dis-
tinctive and original notes in modem hymnody. Suhjects-
and treatment are both new and quite his own. What
can be finer or more suited to the theme than his verses
on Pastor Robinson's advice to the Pilgrim Fathers ? ** He
charged us, if God should reveal anything to us by any
other instruments of His, to be as ready to receive it as
any truth by his ministry ; for he was very confident the
Lord had more light and truth yet to break forth out of
His holy word."

We limit not the trath of Ood,

To our poor reach of mind,
By Dotions of our dav and sect,

Grade, partial, and confined ;
No. let a new and better hope

Within onr hearts be stirred ;
The Lord hath yet more light and trath

To break forth from His word.
Who dares to bind to his dull sense,

The oradee of heaven,
For all the nations, tongneo, and dimes.

And all the ages given ;
That aniverse, how much unknown I

That ocean onexplored !
The Lord hath yet more light and trath

To break forth from His word.
Darkling onr great forefathers went

The first steps of the way :
'Twas but the dawning, yet to grow

Into the perfect day.
And grow it shall ; our glorious Sun

More tf rvid rays afibid ;
The Lord hath yet more light and trath

To break forth from His word.
The valleys past, ascending still,

Our souls would higher dimb,
And look down from supernal heights

On all the bygone time.


by Google


Upward we press; the air is dear,

And the sphere-music heard ;
The Lord hath yet more light and truth

To break forth from His word.

O Father, Son, and Spirit, send

Us increase from above ;
Enlarge, expand all Christian souls

To comprehend Thy love !
And make us all go on to know.

With nobler powers conferred,
The Lord hath yet more light and truth

To break forth from His word.

What verses more appropriate to be sung when a valiant
soldier of Christ has finished the fight and gone to his
reward than the following ? —

Captain and Saviour of the host

Of Christian chivalry ;
We bless Thee for our comrade true,

Now summoned up to Thee.

We bless Thee for his every step

In faithful following Thee ;
And for his good fight fought so well,

And crowned with victory.

We thank Thee that the wayworn sleeps

The sleep in Jesus blest ;
The purified and ransomed soul

Hath entered into rest.

We bless Thee that his humble love

Hath met with such regard :
We bless Thee for his blessedness,

And for his rich reward.

Our age is rich in hymns for Sunday evening. Some of
our modem hymnists, indeed, have been happiest in their
bymns for this season. Its sacredness seems to have
stirred all their poetic power. But for quiet tenderness
and pathos the verses which follow are excelled by none.

Thou who hast known the careworn breast,

The weary need of sleep's deep balm.
Come Saviour, ere we go to rest,

And breathe around Thy perfect calm.




Thy pretenoe sives as ohUcUike tratt,

Gladness and hope without alloy,
The fidth that triumphs o'er the dost,

And gleamings of eternal joy.

Stand in onr midst, dear Lord, and say.

*Peace be to yon this evening hour ;
Then all the straggles of the day

Vanish before Thy krving power.

Blest is the pilgrimage to heaven,

A little nearer every night ;
Christ to oar earthly darkness giveo»

Till in His glory there is light.

Full of a healthy spiritual feeling and with ajjmetre and
rhythm singularly bright and appropriate is the following i

Walking with Thee, my Ood,

Saviour benign ;
Daily confer on me

Converse divine ;
Jesus in Thee restored.
Brother and Holy Lord,

Let it be mine.

Walking with Thee, my God,

Like as a child
Leans on his father's strength.

Crossing the wild ;
And by the way is taught
Lessons of holy thought,

Faith undefiled.

Darkness and earthly mists.

How do they flee.
Far underneath my feet.

Walking with Thee:
Pure is that upper air.
Cloudless the prospect there,

Walking with Thee.

Walking in reverence

Humbly with Thee,
Tet from all abject fear

Lovingly free :
E'en as a friend with friend,
Cheered to the jouraey's end.

Walking with Thee I


by Google


Then Thy oompamoos hture

WaUdDg with Thee.
Rise to a higher life,

Soul liberty.
They are not here to love.
Bat 'to the home above,

Takm by Thee.

Gently translated, they

Pass oat of sight;
Gone ! as the morning stars

Flee with the night:
Taken to endless day I —
So may I fade away

Into Thy light.

It was to be expected that such a nature as Mr. Eawson's
would be specially moyed by what is certainly thp most
tender and pathetie of all the services of the church — ^the
Supper of the Lord — and some of his finest hymns have
been written for this holy feast of remembrance. The
hymn by which he is perhaps most widely known is one
out of many he has written for that service. This has
reached far beyond the bounds of the Church to whi^ Mr.
Bawson belongs, and is sung in churches widely severed
from his own in their conception of that ordinance. It
appears in an altered, but certainly not improved form in
" Church Hymns." I do not like the fifth verse, since
it points to a physical resurrection of the body, for which
there is no warrant in Scripture.

By Christ redeemed, in Christ restored,
We keep the memory adored,
And show the death of oor dear Lord
Until He oome.

His body, broken in onr stead.
Is here, in this memorial bread.
And so oor feeble love is fed
Until He come.


by Google


The streams of Hii diead agony,
Hia life-blood shed for as, we see :
The wine shall teU the m3rstery,
Until He come.

And thns that dark betrayal-night
With the last advent we unite,
By one blest chain of loving rite,
Until He come.

Unto the tramp of God be heard,
Until the ancient graves be sthred.
And with the great commanding word.
The Lord shall come.

O blessed hope ! with this elate,
Let not onr hearts be desolate.
But strong in faith, in patience, wait
Until He come.

I have already said that his later hymns lack the dis-
tinctiveness and vigour of the best of his earlier ones. An
exception must, however, be made in the case of one
hymn, likewise a Communion hymn, which he was good
enough to send me in MS., and which appeared first of
all in my own hymnal. It is intended for use after the

Like the first disciples

In their strange glad hour,
We have seen the Master

In His risen power.

In this rite have owned Him,

As the Christ adored :
In His living presence,

We have seen the Lord.

that face of suffering,
Wounded hands and side.

Say to each — ' I loved thee.
And for thee I died.'

Hear His voice of triumph,
Death's dark reign is o'er,

1 am He that livetn,
Liveth evermore.


by Google


My death hath redeemed yoa,

Now for you I live,
Uttermoet, eternal,

Is the love I give.

* Lo ! I'm with you alwa^-s

Till the ages oease.'
Lord, we rent believing ;

Lord, in Thee is peace.

Such hymns as these are likely to hold a pormanent place
in the hymnody of the churches in which they are
already used, and to find their way into other commu-
nions, since they are full of a true Christian feeling,
expressed in forms that are at once poetic and dcTOut.

Horatius Bonar (horn at Edinburgh in 1808), who is
one, perhaps the most popular, of living hymnists,
presents to us the strange spectacle of an author whose
hymns have passed into use in nearly every section of the
Church, but whose own church refuses to allow them to
be sung, and rigidly adheres to the Scottish Psalms
and Paraphrases. Whilst equally remarkable is the
fact, that, though he belongs to a strongly Calvinistic
body, his hymns abound in the most ecstatic assertions
of the universal love of God. Here, as in so many
other cases, the heart is wiser than the head — ^the
poet than the theologian. When the soul soars the
highest, the limitations of earth sink out of sight. Just
as the Unitarian whose heart is kindled by the lyric fire,
sees more in Christ than his reasoning theological brother
of the same church, so the strong Calvinist, when moved
in heart to poetic expression, sees that **the love of God
is broader than the measures of man's mind.'' We are


by Google


safer with the poet than the theologian. Take, as an.
illustration of this, the following from Dr. Bonar : —

O love of God, how strong and true !
Eternal, and yet ever new,
Unooroprebended and nnboiigfct.
Beyond all knowledge and all thoaght !

O love of God, how deep and great !
Far deeper than man's deepest hate ;
8elf.fed, self.kindled Uke the light,
Changelesp, eternal, infinite !

O heavenly love, bow preciocs still,
In days of weariness and ill,
In nights of pain and helfdessness.
To heal, to comfort, and to bless !

O wide*embraciog, woodroos love.

We read thee in the sky above.

We read thee in the earth below.

In seas that swell, and streams that flow !

We read thee best in Him who oame
To bear for xu the cross of shame,
Sent by the Father from on hi^,
Oar lifo to live, onr death to die.

We read thee in the tears once shed
Over doomed Salem's guilty head.
In the cold tomb of Bethany,
And Uood drops of Gethsemane.

We read thy power to bless and save,
E'en in the darkness of the grave;
Still more in resurrection light,
We read the falne« of thy might.

O love of God, our shield and stay
Through all the perils of our way ;
Eternal love, in thee we rest.
For ever safe, for ever blest !

The most widely known and loved of his hymns are— " I
heard the yoice of Jesus say," called ** A Voice from
Galilee;" **A few more years shall roll," int>h«bl7
suggested by two lines in Peter Abelard's hymn —


by Google


lUio nee Sabbato
Smcoedil Sabbatnin,
Perpes laetitia

** Thy way, not mine, Lord," ** I lay my sins on Jesus,"

'< Calm me, my God, and keep me calm," '* Lord, give me

light to do Thy work," ** Go, labour on, spend and be

spent;" "When the weary, seeking rest," modelled on

the pattern of Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the

Temple. But the following richly deserve notice. This

is very fine, in substance and expression : —

Bear Tboa my burden, Thou who bear'st my sin ;
Both are too heavy, Lord, for me to bear;
Oh, take them, oall them Thine; yw, Thine, though mine;
And give me calm repose in boors of fear and care.

Let me not ftet because of evil men ;
Smooth Thou each angry ripple of my soul ;
Beviled, O let me not revile again.
And ever let Thy hand my rising warmth controL

Let not my peace be broken when the wrong
Conquers the right, but let me still wait on ;
The day of right is coming, late, but long,
Long right beneatb the sway of the all-righteous One.

When truth is overborne and error reigns.
When clamour lords it over patient love,
CKve the brave calmness which from wrath refrains,
Yet from the steadfast course dedines one foot to move.

When love no refuf^e finds but silent faith,
When meekness fain would hide its heavy head,
When trustful truth, shunning the words of wrath,
Waits for the day of right, so long, so long delayed ;

Beneath the load of crosses and of cares.
Of thwarted plans, of rude and spiteful words ;
O bear me up, when this weak flesh despairs.
And the one arm which faith can lean on is the Lord's.

As is this, touched with the same spirit : —

Nut what I am, O Lord', but what Thou art I
That, that alone, can be my soul's true rest ;
Thy love, not mine, bids fear and doubt depart.
And stills the tempest of my tossing breast.


by Google


It is Thy perfect love that casts oat fear ;
I know the voice that speaks the " It is I " ;
And in these well-known words of heavenly cheer
I hear the joy that bids each sorrow fly.

Thy name is Love ! I hear it from yon cross ;

Thy name is Love ! 1 read it in yon tomb;

All meaner love is perishable dross,

Bat this shall light me through time's thickest gloom.

It blesses now, and shall for ever bless,
It saves me now, and shall for ever save ;
It holds me ap in days of helplessness.
It bears me si^ely o*er each swelling wave.

Girt with the love of Qod on every side.
Breathing that love as heaven's own healing air,
I work or wait, still following my Guide,
Braving each foe, escaping every snare.

'Tis what I know of Thee, my Lord and God,
That fills my soul with peace, my lips with song ;
Thou art my health, my joy, my staff, my rod,
Leaning on Thee, in weakness 1 am strong.

I am all want and hunger ; this faint heart
Pines for a fulness which it finds not here ;
Dear ones are leaving, and, as they depart,
Make room within for something yet more dear.

More of Thyself, O show me, hoar by hour,
More of Thy gloi^, O my God and Lord ;
More of Thyself, m all Thy grace and power ;
More of Thy love and truth, incarnate Word.

This is brief, but beautiful : —

O Love that casts out fear,
O Love that casts out sin,
Tarry no more without,
Bat come and dwell within.

True sunlight of the soul.
Surround me as I go;
So shall my way be safe.
My feet no straying know.

Great Love of God, oome in,
Well-spring of heavenly peace.
Thou Living Water, come,
Spring up, and never cease.


by Google


Bold and lyric is: —

Speak, lips of mine,

And tell abroad
The praises of thy God.

Speak, stammering tongue,

In gladdest tone,
Make His high praises known.

Speak, sea and earth.

Heaven's ntmoet star,
Speak from your realms afar,

Take up the note.

And send it round
Creation's farthest bound.

Speak, heaven of heavens.

Wherein our God
Has made His bright abode.

Speak, angels speak.

In songs proclaim
His everlasting name.

Speak, son of dust.
Thy flesh He took,
And heaven for thee forsook.
Speak, child of death,
Thy death He died ;
Bless thou the Crucified.

One of his most beautiful and poetic hymns is : —

Light of the world ! for ever, ever shining ;

There is no change in Thee ;
True Light of life, all Joy and health enshrining.

Thou canst not fade nor flee.

Thou hast arisen ; but Thou dedinest never :

To-day shines as the past ;
All that Thou wast. Thou art, and shalt be ever ;

Brightness from first to last I

Night visits not Thy sky, nor storm, nor sadness ;

Day fills up all its blue:
Unfailing beauty, and unfaltering gladness.

And love for ever new !

Light of the world ! undimming and unsetting,

O shine each mist away I
Banish the fear, the ftdsehood, and the fretting.

Be our unchanging day I


by Google


Strong, and yet tender, is : —

Throagh good report and evil, Lord !
StiU guided by Thy faithful word,
Our staff, our buckler, and our sword,
We follow Thee.

In silence of the lonely night,
In fullest glow of day*8 clear light,
Through life's strange windings, dark or bright,
We follow Thee.

Great Master I point Thou out the way.
Nor suffer Thou our steps to stray ;
Then in the path that leads to day,
We follow Thee.

Thou hast passed on before our face ;
Thy footsteps on the way we trace ;
keep us, aid us by Thy grace,^
We follow Thee.

Whom have we in the heaven above?
Whom on this earth, save Thee, to love ?
Still in Thy bght we onward move,
We follow Thee.

A very inspiring hymn is : —

Shall this life of mine be wasted ?

Shall this vineyard lie untilled ?
Shall true joy remain untasted.

And the soul abide unfilled ?
Shall the €k>d-given hours be scattered,

Like the leaves upon the plain?
Shall the blossoms die uowatered

By the drops of heavenly rain ?

Shall the heart still spend its treasures

On the things that fade and die ?
Shall it court the hollow pleasures

Of bewildering vanity P
No, we were not bom to trifle

Life away in dreams of sin ;
No, we must not, dare not stifle

liOngings such as these within.

Swiftly moving upward, onward.

Let our souls in faith arise.
Calmly gazing skyward, sunward.

Let us fix our steadfast eves


by Google


Where the oroie, God's love revealing.

Seta the fettered spirit free ;
Where it sheds its wondrous heallDg,

There, O soid, thy rest shall be.

TheD no longer idly dreaming

Shall we fling our years away ;
But, each precious hour redeeming,

Wait for the eternal day.
God, the Father of creation.

Son, the Saviour of mankind.
Spirit of iUumioation,

Make us Thine in heart and mind.

The foUowing yearning intercession for children is very

beautiful : —

Father, our children keep !
We know not what is coming on the earth ;
Beneath the shadow of Thy heavenly wing,
O keep them, keep them, Thou who gav'st them birth.

Father, draw nearer us !
Draw firmer round us Thy protecting arm ;
O clasp our children closer to Thy side,
Uninjured in the day of earth's alarm.

Them in Thy chambers hide I
O hide them and preserve them calm and safe,
When sin abounds, and error flows abroad.
And Satan tempts, and human passions chafe.

O keep them undefiled I
Unspotted from a tempting world of ain ;
That, clothed in white, through the bright city-gates,
They may with us in triumph enter in.

Some of his Communion hymns are finely adapted to

that service, notably the following : —

Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to faoe ;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen ;
Here nasp with firmer hand the eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.

Here would I feed upon the bread of God ;
Here drink with Thee the royal wine of heaven ;
Here would 1 lay aside each earthly load ;
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

This is the hour of banquet and of song,
This is the heavenly table ppread for me ;


by Google


Here let me feasi, and feasting, still prolong
The brief bright hoar of fellowship with Thee.

Too soon we rise : the symbols disappear :
The feast, though not the loye, iflpast and gone ;
The bread and wine remove, bat Thoa art here.
Nearer than ever, still my Shield and Son.

Feast after feast thus oomea and passes by.
Yet, passing, points to the glad feast above,
GHying sweet foretaste of the festal joy.
The Lamb's great bridal feast of bliss and love.

Dr. Booar has written many works in prose, bnt he will
be remembered by his hymns, many of which are likely
to keep a pennanent place in the Church's song.

Jane Borthwick (bom 1813), is known chiefly as joint
authoress with her sister, Mrs. Findlater, of " Hymns from
the Land of Luther," one of the finest collections of
translation from the German we possess in the English
tongue. But she possesses, as most good hymn translators
do, real poetic faculty of her own. A translation is a poor
affair if the original does not pass through a poet's mind
before it appears in its new language. That Miss
Borthwick has such a mind is clear from the following
hymn ; one of the most tender and pathetic of its kind in
existence : —

Thoa knowest, Lord, the weariness and sorrow
Of the sad heart that comes to Thee for rest ;

Cares of to-day, and burdens for to-morrow.
Blessings implored, and sins to be confessed;
We come before Thee at Thy gradoas w(»d.
And lay them at Thy feet : Thoa knowest Lord.

Thon knowest all the past ; how long and blindly
On the dark mountains the lost wanderer strayed ;

How the good Shepherd followed, and how kindly
He bore it home, upon His shoulden laid ;
And healed the bleeding woands and soothed the pain,
And brought back life, and hope, and strength again.


by Google


Tfiou kDOw«tt all the present ; each temptation,

Each toflflome duty, each foreboding wax ;
All to each one afldgned of tribi:dation,

Or to beloyM onee, than self more dear ;

All pensive memories, as we joorney on.

Longings for vanished smiles and vmoes gone.

ThoQ knowest all the fhtore ; gleams of gladness

By stormy donds too quickly overcast ;
Hours of sweet fellowship and parting sadness,

And the dark river to be crossed at last ;

O what could hope and confidence afiford

To tiead that path ; but this. Thou knowest, Lord ?
Thou knowest, not alone as God, all knowing ;

As Man, our mortal weiduiess, Thou hast proved ;
On earth, with purest sympathies overflowing,

O Saviour, Thou hast wept, and Thou hast loved ;

And love and sorrow still to Thee may come,

And find a hiding-place, a rest, a home.
Therefore we come, Thy gentle call obeying,

And lay our sins and sorrows at Thy feet ,
On everlastingstrength our weakness staying, '

Clothed in Thy robe of righteousness complete,

Then rising and refreshed we leave Thy ttirone,

And follow on to know as we are known.

Equally good, but in quite another strain is : —

Gome, labour on !
Who dares stand idle on the harvest-plain.
While all around him waves the golden grain ?
And to each servant does the Master say,

* Go work to-day.

Come, labour on !
Claim the high calling angels cannot share.
To young and old the Gospel-gladness bear ;
Redeem the time ; its hours too swiftly fly,
The night drawd nigh.

Come, labour on I
The enemy is watching m'ght and day,
To sow the tares, to snatch the seed away ;
While we in sleep our duty have forgot.

He slumbered not.

Come, labour on !
Away with gloomy doubts and fidthless fear !
No arms so weak, but may do service here ;
By hands the feeblest can our God fulfil
His righteous will.



by Google


CkHoe, laboor on I
No time for rest, tOl glows the wettern sky,
While the long shMiowi o'er our ptthwaj lie,
And a glad sound comes with the settiag sui —
* Serrants, well done !

Come, labour on I
The tdl is pleasant, and the harvest sore.
Blessed are those who to the end endure ;
How fhll their joy, how deep their rest shall be,

Online LibraryWilliam Garrett HorderThe hymn lover: an account of the rise and growth of English hymnody → online text (page 17 of 37)