Scripture Verse

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Introduction

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James R. Lowell
1819–1891

Words: James R. Low­ell, in the Bos­ton Cou­ri­er, De­cem­ber 11, 1845. Low­ell wrote these words as a po­em pro­test­ing Am­er­ica’s war with Mex­ico. The orig­in­al text was 90 lines long; the words be­low were ar­ranged by Gar­rett Hor­der in his Hymns Sup­ple­ment­al to Ex­ist­ing Col­lec­tions, 1896.

Music: Eb­en­ezer Tho­mas J. Will­iams, in Llaw lyfr Mo­li­ant, 1890 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

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Thomas J. Williams
1869–1944
Courtesy of Nigel Williams

Lyrics

Once to ev­ery man and na­tion,
Comes the mo­ment to de­cide,
In the strife of truth with false­hood,
For the good or ev­il side;
Some great cause, some great de­ci­sion,
Offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by for­ev­er,
’Twixt that dark­ness and that light.

Then to side with truth is no­ble,
When we share her wretch­ed crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and pro­fit,
And ’tis pros­per­ous to be just;
Then it is the brave man choos­es
While the cow­ard stands aside,
Till the mul­ti­tude make vir­tue
Of the faith they had de­nied.

By the light of burn­ing mar­tyrs,
Christ, Thy bleed­ing feet we track,
Toiling up new Cal­v’ries ev­er
With the cross that turns not back;
New oc­ca­sions teach new du­ties,
Time makes an­cient good un­couth,
They must up­ward still and on­ward,
Who would keep abreast of truth.

Though the cause of ev­il pros­per,
Yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her por­tion be the scaf­fold,
And up­on the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaf­fold sways the fu­ture,
And be­hind the dim un­known,
Standeth God with­in the sha­dow,
Keeping watch above His own.