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 & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Walter J. Mathams (1853–1931)

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.