1808–1889
portrait

De­cem­ber 19, 1808, Old Brough­ton, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land.

Ju­ly 31, 1889, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land.

Can­on­gate church­yard, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land.

portrait

Bonar has been called the prince of Scot­tish hymn writ­ers.

After grad­u­at­ing from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ed­in­burgh, he was or­dained in 1838, and be­came pas­tor of the North Parish, Kel­so. He joined the Free Church of Scot­land af­ter the Dis­rup­tion of 1843, and for a while ed­it­ed the church’s Bor­der Watch. Bo­nar stayed in Kel­so for 28 years, then moved to the Chal­mers Me­mor­i­al Church in Ed­in­burgh, where he served the rest of his life.

Bonar wrote more than 600 hymns. At a me­mor­i­al ser­vice fol­low­ing his death, his friend, Rev. E. H. Lun­die, said:

His hymns were writ­ten in ve­ry varied cir­cum­stanc­es, some­times timed by the tink­ling brook that bab­bled near him; some­times at­tuned to the or­dered tramp of the ocean, whose crest­ed waves broke on the beach by which he wan­dered; some­times set to the rude mu­sic of the rail­way train that hur­ried him to the scene of du­ty; some­times mea­sured by the si­lent rhy­thm of the midn­ight stars that shone above him.

Bonar’s works in­clude:

A STRANGER HERE

I miss the dear paternal dwelling,
Which memory still undimmed recalls,
A thousand early stories telling,
I miss the venerable walls.

I miss the chamber of my childhood,
I miss the shade of boyhood’s tree—
The glen, the path, the cliff, the wildwood,
The music of the well known sea.

I miss the ivied haunt of moonlight,
I miss the forest and the stream,
I miss the fragrant grove of noonlight,
I miss our mountain’s sunset gleam.

I miss the green slope, where reposing,
I mused upon the near and far,
Marked, one by one, each floweret closing,
Watched, one by one, each opening star.

I miss the well remembered faces,
The voices, forms of fresher days;
Time ploughs not up these deep drawn traces,
These lines no ages can erase.

I miss them all, for, unforgetting,
My spirit o’er the past still strays,
And, much its wasted years regretting,
It treads again these shaded ways.

I mourn not that each early token
Is now to me a faded flower,
Nor that magic snare is broken
That held me with its mystic power.

I murmur not that now a stranger,
I pass along the smiling earth;
I know the share, I dread the danger,
I hate the haunts, I shun the mirth.

My hopes are passing upward, onward,
And with my hopes my heart has gone;
My eye is turning skyward, sunward,
Where glory brightens round yon throne.

My spirit seeks its dwelling yonder;
And faith fore-dates the joyful day
When these old skies shall cease to sunder
The one dear, love-linked family.

Well pleased I find years rolling o’er me,
And hear each day time’s measured tread;
Far fewer clouds now stretch before me,
Behind me is the darkness spread.

And summer’s suns are swiftly setting,
And life moves downward in their train,
And autumn dews are fondly wetting
The faded cheek of earth in vain.

December moons are coldly waning,
And life with them is on the wane;
Storm laden skies with sad complaining,
Bend blackly o’er the unsmiling main.

My future from my past unlinking,
Each dying year untwines the spell;
The visible is swiftly sinking,
Uprises the invisible.

To light, unchanging and eternal,
From mists that sadden this bleak waste,
To scenes that smile for ever vernal,
From winter’s blackening leaf I haste.

Earth, what a sorrow lives before thee,
None like it in the shadowy past—
The sharpest throe that ever tore thee,
Even tho’ the briefest and the last!

I see the fair moon veil her luster,
I see the sackcloth of the sun;
The shrouding of each starry cluster,
The threefold woe of earth begun.

I see the shadows of its sunset;
And wrapped in these the Avenger’s form;
I see the Armageddon onset;
But I shall be above the storm.

There comes the moaning and the sighing,
There comes the hot tear’s heavy fall,
The thousand agonies of dying—
But I shall be beyond them all.

Horatius Bonar
Hymns of Faith and Hope, 1857

  1. Abide with Us
  2. Almighty Com­for­ter and Friend
  3. All That I Was
  4. All Well
  5. Anchor With­in the Veil, The
  6. Angel Voic­es Sweet­ly Sing­ing
  7. Arise and De­part
  8. Arise, Shine for Thy Light Is Come
  9. Ascend, Be­loved, to the Joy
    • Long, Long De­ferred, Now Come at Last
  10. At Last
  11. Bathed in Un­fall­en Sun­light
  12. Battle Song of the Church, The
  13. Be Brave, My Bro­ther
  14. Be Still, My Soul, Je­ho­vah Lov­eth Thee
  15. Bear Thou My Bur­den
  16. Beckon Us Up­ward
  17. Begin with God
  18. Beloved, Let Us Love
  19. Bethlehem
  20. Better Will, The
  21. Beyond the Smil­ing and the Weep­ing
  22. Bless the Lord
  23. Blessed Be God, Our God
  24. Blessèd Night, When First That Plain
  25. Blessing and Hon­or and Glory and Pow­er
  26. Brethren, Arise, Let Us Go Hence
  27. Bridegroom Comes, The
  28. By the Cross of Je­sus Stand­ing
  29. Calm Me, My God
  30. Christ of God, The
  31. Church Has Wait­ed Long, The
  32. Come, Lord, and Tar­ry Not
  33. Come, Migh­ty Spir­it
  34. Consolation, The
  35. Creation in Ear­nest
  36. Cry of the Wea­ry, The
  37. Day Af­ter Ar­ma­ged­don, The
  38. Day-Spring
  39. Deep Down Be­neath the Un­rest­ing Surge
  40. Dust to Dust
  41. Earth’s Beau­ty
  42. Ecce Ho­mo!
  43. Eternity Is Draw­ing Nigh
  44. Everlasting Prais­es
  45. Far Down the Ag­es Now
  46. Father, Make Use of Me
  47. Father, Our Child­ren Keep
  48. Fear Not, Daugh­ter of Zi­on
  49. Feast, The
  50. Few More Years Shall Roll, A
  51. Fill Thou My Life
  52. Finish Thy Work, the Time Is Short
  53. For Lack of Love
  54. For the Bread and for the Wine
  55. For Thee We Long and Pray
  56. Fresh from the Throne of Glo­ry
  57. From the Cross the Blood Is Fall­ing
  58. Give Thou Thy Youth to God
  59. Glory Be to God the Fa­ther
  60. Go, La­bor On: Spend, and Be Spent
  61. Go Up, Go Up, My Heart
  62. God’s Is­ra­el
  63. Gold and the Heart
  64. Graves of Ocean, The
  65. Great Rul­er of the Land and Sea
  66. Hallelujah for the Cross!
  67. He Called Them, and They Left
  68. He Has Come, the Christ of God
  69. He Is Com­ing
  70. He Is Near
  71. He Is Ris­en
  72. He Liv­eth Long Who Liv­eth Well
  73. He Wept ov­er It
  74. Help Me, My God, to Speak
  75. Here, O My Lord, I See Thee
  76. Here Shall Death’s Tri­umph End
  77. Holy Fa­ther, Hear My Cry
  78. Holy Fa­ther, Migh­ty God
  79. Ho, Ye Thirs­ty, Parched and Faint­ing
  80. Hope of Day
  81. How Are My Trou­bles Mul­ti­plied
  82. How Long!
  83. How Sweet­ly Doth He Show His Face
  84. Hymn of the Last Days
  85. I Ask a Per­fect Creed
    • O True One, Give Me Truth
  86. I Close My Hea­vy Eye
  87. I Go to Life
  88. I Hear the Words of Love
  89. I Heard the Voice of Je­sus Say
  90. I Lay My Sins on Je­sus
  91. I Shall Be Sa­tis­fied
  92. I Thought upon My Sins
  93. I Was a Wan­der­ing Sheep
  94. I Weep, but Do Not Yield
    • Come Nearer, Near­er Still
    • I Did Thee Wrong, My God
    • I Said, My God, at Length
    • My Sky Was Once Noon-Bright
  95. Is This All?
  96. It Is Fi­nished
  97. Jesu, Sav­ior, Son of God
  98. Jesus, My Sor­row Lies Too Deep
  99. Jesus, Sun and Shield Art Thou
  100. Jesus, the Christ of God
  101. Jesus, While This Rough De­sert Soil
  102. Judgment, The
  103. Kingdom, The
  104. Let There Be Light, Je­ho­vah Said
  105. Let Us Draw Near
  106. Let Us Go Forth
  107. Lie Down, Frail Bo­dy, Here
    • Rest for the Toil­ing Hand
    • Soon Shall the Trump of God
  108. Light Hath Aris­en, The
  109. Light Is Come, The
  110. Light of Life So Soft­ly Shin­ing
  111. Light of the Bet­ter Morn­ing
  112. Light of the World! For­ev­er, Ev­er Shin­ing
  113. Light’s Teach­ings
  114. Little Flock! So Calls He Thee, A
    • Church of the Ev­er­last­ing God
  115. Lo, God, Our God, Has Come!
  116. Lord, Give Me Light to Do Thy Work
  117. Lord Need­eth Thee, The
  118. Lord, Thou Art Mine
  119. Lost Soul, The
  120. Make Haste, O Man, to Live
  121. Martyr’s Grave, The
  122. Master’s Touch, The
  123. Meeting Place, The
  124. Mind at Per­fect Peace, A
  125. Morning, the Bright and the Beau­ti­ful Morn­ing, The
  126. Nay, ’Tis Not What We Fan­cied It
    • O ’Tis Not What We Fan­cied It
  127. New Song, The
  128. Night and the Morn­ing, The
  129. Night Com­eth, The
  130. No Blood, No Al­tar Now
  131. No, Not Des­pair­ing­ly
  132. No Sha­dows Yon­der
  133. Not Here
  134. Not Now
  135. Not to Our­selves Again
  136. Not Very Far
  137. Not What I Am, O Lord
  138. Not What These Hands Have Done
  139. Not with the Light and Vain
  140. Now in Part­ing, Fa­ther, Bless Us
  141. O Ev­er­last­ing Light
  142. O Love In­vi­si­ble, Yet In­fi­nite
  143. O Love of God, How Strong and True
  144. O Love That Casts Out Fear
  145. O Strong to Save and Bless
  146. O This Soul, How Dark and Blind
  147. Of Old They Sang the Song of Li­ber­ty
    • Free One Makes You Free, The
  148. Old St­ory, The
  149. On the Great Love of God I Lean
  150. On the Thresh­old
  151. On Thee, O Je­sus, Strong­ly Lean­ing
  152. Only Re­mem­bered
  153. Our One Life
  154. Pass over to Thy Rest
  155. Peace to the World
  156. Peace upon Peace, Like Wave on Wave
  157. Praises to Him Who Built the Hills
  158. Preserved by Thine Al­migh­ty Pow­er
  159. Real, The
  160. Rejoice and Be Glad!
  161. Return un­to Thy Rest
  162. Safe Across the Wa­ters
  163. Shadow of the Cross, The
  164. Shall This Life of Mine Be Wast­ed?
    • Like the Ea­gle, Up­ward, On­ward
  165. Silent, Like Men in Sol­emn Haste
  166. Sin and the Sin Bear­er, The
  167. Sinful Man Am I, A
  168. Sing Them, My Child­ren
  169. Sinner’s Bur­i­al, The
  170. Smooth Ev­ery Wave
  171. Song of the New Cr­e­ation
  172. Songs of Glad­ness
  173. Sounds the Trum­pet from Afar
  174. Source of All Love and Pow­er
  175. Sower Di­vine, Sow the Good Seed in Me
  176. Speaketh the Sin­ner’s Sin With­in My Heart
  177. Spirit of Ever­last­ing Grace
  178. Summer of the Si­lent Heart
  179. Sunset and Su­nrise
  180. That Clime Is Not Like This Dull Clime of Ours
  181. Thee in the Lov­ing Bloom of Morn
  182. There Is a Morn­ing Star, My Soul
  183. These Are the Crowns That We Shall Wear
    • That Ci­ty with the Jew­eled Crest
    • Yon Ci­ty, with the Jew­eled Crest
  184. This Is Not My Place of Rest­ing
  185. This Is the Day of Toil
  186. Three Weep­ers, The
  187. Through Death to Life
  188. Through Good Re­port and Evil, Lord
  189. Thy Thoughts Are Here, My God
  190. Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord
  191. Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ
  192. ’Tis Thus They Press the Hand and Part
  193. To Him Who Spread the Skies
  194. To Je­ho­vah, God of Might
  195. To the Com­for­ter
  196. To the Name of God on High
  197. True Bread, The
  198. Trustingly, Trust­ing­ly
  199. ’Twas I That Did It
  200. Two Pro­phets, The
  201. Unto th’Eter­nal Hills
  202. Up and Away, Like the Dew of the Morn­ing
  203. Up, My Soul, ’Tis Day
  204. Upward Where the Stars Are Burn­ing
  205. Use Me!
  206. Village of Si­lo­am
  207. Voice of the Be­lov­èd, The
  208. We Take the Peace Which He Hath Won
  209. Weep, Pil­grim, Weep
  210. Welcome! Wan­der­er, Wel­come!
  211. When the Wea­ry, Seek­ing Rest
  212. Who Are These, and Whence Came They?
  213. Why Walk in Dark­ness?
  214. Wise Weep­ing
  215. Word Made Flesh, The
    • Jesus, Whom An­gel Hosts Adore
  216. Why Walk in Dark­ness?
  217. Work That Saves, The
  218. Yes, for Me He Car­eth
  219. Yet There Is Room