Scripture Verse

We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Introduction

Words: Anne R. Rich­ter, in Songs from the Val­ley: A Col­lec­tion of Sac­red Po­et­ry (Kirk­by Lons­dale: 1834). Mo­di­fied by John H. Gur­ney in Psalms and Hymns for Pub­lic Wor­ship (Lon­don: 1851).

Music: Knowles Shaw, 1877 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Rich­ter (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

portrait
Knowles Shaw
1834–1878

Lyrics

We saw Thee not when Thou didst come
To this poor world of sin and death;
Nor yet be­held Thy cot­tage home,
In that des­pis­èd Na­za­reth.
But we be­lieve Thy foot­steps trod
Its streets and plains, Thou Son of God.
But we be­lieve Thy foot­steps trod
Its streets and plains, Thou Son of God.

We did not see Thee lift­ed high,
Amid that wild and sav­age crew;
Nor heard Thy meek, im­plor­ing cry,
Forgive, they know not what they do!
Yet we be­lieve the deed was done,
That shook the earth and veiled the sun.
But we be­lieve the deed was done,
Which shook the earth and veiled the sun.

We stood not by the emp­ty tomb,
Where late Thy sac­red bo­dy lay;
Nor sat with­in that up­per room,
Nor met Thee on the op­en way.
But we be­lieve that an­gels said,
Why seek the liv­ing with the dead?
But we be­lieve that an­gels said,
Why seek the liv­ing with the dead?

We did not mark the chos­en few,
When Thou didst through the clouds as­cend,
First lift to Hea­ven their won­der­ing view,
Then to the earth all pros­trate bend;
But we be­lieve that mor­tal eyes
Beheld that jour­ney to the skies;
But we be­lieve that mor­tal eyes
Beheld that jour­ney to the skies.

And now that Thou dost reign on high,
And thence Thy wait­ing peo­ple bless,
No ray of glo­ry from the sky
Doth shine up­on our wil­der­ness;
But we be­lieve Thy faith­ful Word,
And trust in our re­deem­ing Lord;
But we be­lieve Thy faith­ful Word,
And trust in our re­deem­ing Lord.

Richter’s orig­in­al po­em:

We have not seen Thy foot­steps tread
This wild and sin­ful earth of ours,
Nor heard Thy voice re­store the dead
Again to life’s re­viv­ing pow­ers:
But we be­lieve—for all things are
The gifts of Thine Al­migh­ty care.

We have not seen the bil­lowy sea
Grow calm and still at Thy com­mand,
Nor the dim orbs again to see,
Beneath the heal­ing of Thine hand:
But we be­lieve the Fount of light
Again could give those eye­balls sight.

We did not see Thee tread the wave;
We did not hear the voice from heav­en,
Which once with aw­ful warn­ing gave
That God’s own Son for us was giv­en.
But we be­lieve—oh! strength­en Thou
The faith which to Thy name we owe.

We did not see the armed throng
Steal to the gar­den’s mid­night shade,
And watch the palm-tree’s boughs among,
Then quail be­neath Thy glance afraid:
But we bel­ieve—Al­migh­ty love
Alone could such dark mo­ments prove.

We did not see the dark­ness veil
With sud­den gloom the noon-day skies;
Nor the fierce sol­dier’s cheek grow pale;
And priest­ly mock­ery veil their eyes;
When the proud Ro­man owned the pow­er
Of heav­en, ’twas in that aw­ful hour.

We did not hear the foot­steps fall
Within that lone­ly gar­den ground,
Of the all-wake­ful sen­ti­nel,
Slow trac­ing there his watch­ful round;
But we be­lieve—the Ho­ly One
Bursting that tomb, in glo­ry shone.

We were not with the chos­en few
Who saw Thee through the clouds a­scend,
Who gazed, and wished to fol­low too,
Then on the earth all pros­trate bend;
But we be­lieve that mor­tal eyes
Beheld the jour­ney to the skies.

Chase ev­ery shade of doubt away;
Light of the World! in mer­cy shine;
Illume with faith our er­ring way,
We would no wor­ship own but Thine.
Bring us to heav­en’s peace­ful shore,
And make us Thine for­ev­er­more!