Scripture Verse

He that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God. Romans 14:18


John G. Whittier

Words: John G. Whit­ti­er, 1843. The lyr­ics come from his po­em Seed­time and Har­vest.

Music: Er­nan Lo­well Ma­son, 1850 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Lowell Mason


[These] vers­es were loved and prized by both [Am­er­i­can] Pre­si­dent Gar­field and Pre­si­dent Mc­Kin­ley. On the Sun­day be­fore the lat­ter went from his Can­ton [Ohio], home to his in­au­gu­ra­tion in Wash­ing­ton the po­em was sung as a hymn at his re­quest in the ser­vic­es at the Me­thod­ist church where he had been a con­stant wor­ship­per.

Brown, p. 251


It may not be our lot to wield
The sickle in the ripened field;
Nor ours to hear, on summer eves,
The reaper’s song among the sheaves.

Yet where our duty’s task is wrought
In unison with God’s great thought,
The near and future blend in one,
And whatsoe’er is willed, is done.

And ours the grateful service whence
Comes, day by day, the recompense;
The hope, the trust, the purpose stayed,
The fountain, and the noonday shade.

And were this lift the utmost span,
The only end and aim of man,
Better the toil of fields like these
Than waking dream and slothful ease.

But life, though falling like our grain,
Like that revives and springs again;
And, early called, how blest are they
Who wait in heaven, their harvest day!

The opening of Whittier’s original poem:

As o’er his furrowed fields which lie
Beneath a coldly-dropping sky,
Yet chill with winter’s melted snow,
The husbandman goes forth to sow.

Thus, Freedom, on the bitter blast
The ventures of thy seed we cast,
And trust to warmer sun and rain,
To swell the germs and fill the grain.

Who calls thy glorious service hard?
Who deems it not its own reward?
Who, for its trials, counts it less
A cause of praise and thankfulness?