Scripture Verse

The altar of the Lord, which our fathers made…a witness between us and you. Joshua 22:28


Katharine L. Bates

Words: Ka­tha­rine L. Bates, 1908. Bates wrote this hymn to com­mem­o­rate the 200th an­ni­ver­sa­ry of her child­hood church in Fal­mouth, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Music: All Saints Hen­ry S. Cut­ler, in The Hym­nal with Tunes Old and New, by John I. Tuck­er, 1872 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Henry S. Cutler


Our fathers, in the years grown dim,
Reared slowly, wall by wall
A holy dwelling place for Him,
That filleth all in all.
They wrought His house of faith and prayer,
The rainbow round the throne,
A precious temple builded fair
On Christ the Cornerstone.

The angel of the golden reed
Hath found the measure strait;
He hears the Great Foundation plead
For ampler wall and gate.
The living pillars of the Truth
Grown on from morn to morn,
And still the heresy of youth
Is age’s creed outworn.

But steadfast is their inner shrine
Wrought of the heart’s fine gold,
Its hunger and its thirst divine,
With jewels manifold,
Red sard of pain, hope’s emerald gleam,
White peace, no glory missed
Of righteous life and saintly dream,
Jasper to amethyst.

Spirit of truth, forbid that we
Who now God’s temple are
And keep the faith with minds more free,
Our father’s fabric mar.
Better than thoughts the stars that search
Is self still sacrificed,
For only love can build the church
Whose cornerstone is Christ.