Scripture Verse

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? Psalm 24:3


Words: Wal­ter J. Math­ams, cir­ca 1915.

Music: Sur­sum Cor­da (Lo­mas) George Lo­mas, 1876 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

  • Adsum, Car­ey Bon­ner (1859–1938) (some sourc­es show the com­pos­er as Er­nest B. Les­lie, one of Bon­ner’s pseu­do­nyms) (🔊 pdf nwc)

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Lo­mas (head-and-shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), would you ?

Walter J. Mathams

Origin of the Hymn

I was min­is­ter at St. Co­lum­ba, Mal­laig, In­ver­ness-shire, Scot­land, and op­po­site the Is­land of Skye. The boys of a large school in the South had been brought up for their sum­mer hol­i­day.

I was much in­ter­est­ed in them for ma­ny of their fath­ers were away at the war and I thought it well to im­press them with the im­port­ance of loy­al­ty to their coun­try and to Christ.

On one mem­or­a­ble Sun­day I preached on Who shall as­cend into the hill of Je­ho­vah? based on Psalms 15 and 24, as con­trast­ed with the hills of fame, wealth, power, and other world­ly am­bi­tions.

Not clev­er­ness or great abil­i­ty but pur­i­ty of heart, clear­ness of vi­sion, and sing­len­ess of pur­pose are the es­sen­tial things…I com­posed the hymn to be used as a per­or­a­tion and brought in the word ad­sum, mean­ing I am here, so much used in our schools as the re­sponse to ev­ery call to the nob­lest ad­ven­tures of life.

As the tune Sur­sum Cor­da had been haunt­ing my heart for years the words al­most un­con­scious­ly ran in­to that most ef­fec­tive me­ter. The ef­fect on the boys was re­mark­a­ble.

Walter Math­ams, in Lau­fer, pp. 88–89


Christ of the upward way, my guide divine,
Where Thou hast set Thy feet, may I place mine;
And move and march wherever Thou hast trod,
Keeping face forward up the hill of God.

Give me the heart to hear Thy voice and will,
That without fault or fear I may fulfill
Thy purpose with a glad and holy zest,
Like one who would not bring less than his best.

Give me the eye to see each chance to serve,
Then send me strength to rise with steady nerve,
And leap at once with kind and helpful deed,
To the sure succor of a soul in need.

Give me the good stout arm to shield the right,
And wield Thy sword of truth with all my might,
That, in the warfare I must wage for Thee,
More than a victor I may ever be.

Christ of the upward way, my guide divine,
Where Thou hast set Thy feet, may I place mine;
And when Thy last call comes, serene and clear,
Calm may my answer be, Lord, I am here.