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 The 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