He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.@John 1:11
portrait
Horatius Bonar
(1808–1889)

Ho­ra­ti­us Bo­nar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, sec­ond ser­ies (Lon­don: James Nis­bet, 1861), pag­es 59–61.

Hes­per­us Hen­ry Bak­er, 1854. First pub­lished in A Hym­nal for Use in the Eng­lish Church, by John Grey, 1866 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Surely, if such a thing could be,
The best of sunlight fell on Thee;
The softest of the stars of night
Shed down on Thee its sweetest light.

Surely, if such a thing could be,
Noon kept its gentlest rays for Thee;
The lightest of the winds of morn
Across Thy weary brow was borne.

The freshest dew that eve ere shed
Fell in its coolness on Thy head;
The fairest of the flowers that bloom
Reserved for Thee their rich perfume.

Yet tho’ this earth which Thou hast made
Its best for Thee might hourly spread,
And tho’, if such a thing might be,
The best of sunlight fell on Thee,

Man had no love to give Thee here,
No words of peace, no look of cheer;
No tenderness his heart could move,
He gave Thee hatred for Thy love.

Thy best of love to him was giv’n,
The freest, truest grace of Heav’n;
His worst of hatred fell on Thee,
His worst of scorn and enmity.

Life, as its gift for him, Thy love
Brought in its fullness from above;
Death, of all deaths the sharpest, he
In his deep hate prepared for Thee.

O love and hate! thus face to face
Ye meet in this strange meeting place!
O sin and grace, O death and life,
Who, who shall conquer in this strife?

Father, forgive, is love’s lone cry,
While hatred’s crowd shouts, Crucify!
How deeply man his God doth hate,
God’s love to man how true and great!

Love bows the head in dying woe,
And hatred seems to triumph now;
Life into death is fading fast,
And death seems conqueror at last.

But night is herald of the day,
And hate’s dark triumph but makes way
For love’s eternal victory,
When life shall live, and death shall die.