Scripture Verse

Christ, the Savior of the world. John 4:42


Ray Palmer (1808–1887)

Words: Ray Pal­mer, Feb­ru­ary 1868, alt. Writ­ten for, and ap­peared in, Christ in Song, by Phi­lip Schaff (New York: An­son D. F. Ran­dolph, 1869), pag­es 1–5.

Music: Bo­dø J. Lin­coln Hall, 1902, alt. (🔊 pdf nwc).

J. Lincoln Hall (1866–1930)


Oh! long and dark­some was the night,
As slow, dull watch­es wore away,
With moon and stars alone to light
A world be­wil­dered and as­tray;
While oft thick shade and mur­ky cloud
Pale moon and stars did deep en­shroud;
And na­tions looked, and hoped in vain
That over earth, of guilt and sor­row,
Of sin and hate, the sad do­main,
Might dawn a bright and cheer­ful mor­row.

’Twas not, Eter­nal Love, that Thou
Hadst lost Thy care for mor­tal men;
No, Thou didst yearn of old, as now,
To fold them to Thy heart again;
Thou didst but wait till men might know
That sin’s ripe fruits were death and woe;
Till, worn and sick of fruit­less grief,
Of lust’s foul cup to loath­ing tak­en,
With long­ing they might crave re­lief
Ere yet of God and hope for­sak­en.

The yearn­ing heard with trust­ing heart,
E’en then, Thy words of hope and cheer;
They saw by faith the night de­part,
And morn­ing break se­rene and clear.
On ho­ly pro­phets shone afar
The gleam of Jacob’s pro­mised Star;
The ris­ing of the Lord of day,
That, o’er the world His ra­di­ance throw­ing,
Should chase the spec­tral night away,
And mount to noon re­splen­dent show­ing.

When Thou, O Christ! of flesh wast born,
To greet Thee in Thy hum­ble bed,
Though earth Thy low­li­ness should scorn,
Celestial bands with rap­ture sped;
At mid­night on the si­lent air
Thy birth their float­ing strains de­clare:
The shep­herds caught the thrill­ing lay,
In har­mo­nies their sens­es steep­ing;
They to Thy man­ger haste away,
And gaze on Thee, an in­fant sleep­ing!

While Thou didst dwell with men below,
’Twas morn­ing twi­light’s ear­ly blush;
Thy light yet veiled, ’twas Thine to know
Sweet child­hood’s dream, youth’s joy­ous flush;
Then man­hood’s bur­dens, care, and fears,
Its toils and wea­ri­ness and tears;
Tears shed for hu­man grief and woes
Mark Thee, of all, the Man of Sor­rows:
And through Thy life the gran­deur grows
That man­hood from the God­head bor­rows!

When, all for­sak­en of Thine own,
Robed in mock pur­ple Thou didst stand;
Thou wast a king—with­out a throne,
A so­ve­reign Lord—with­out com­mand;
’Neath pur­ple robe and thorns con­cealed,
Divinity its light re­vealed;
Upon the Ro­man’s heart it fell,
Its sharp keen flash, his con­sci­ence wak­ing,
And wrought in him some migh­ty spell,
The pride of his strong spi­rit break­ing.

When came at last Thy dark­est hour,
On which the sun re­fused to look,
Though hell seemed armed with con­qu’ring pow’r,
And earth, as seized with ter­ror, shook;
Though from Thy lips the dy­ing cry,
By ang­uish wrung, went up on high;
Still, ’mid the dark­ness and the fear,
O Son of God! Thy life re­sign­ing,
Thou didst to those that saw ap­pear
The Light of men—eclipsed, yet shin­ing!

The cold, dark tomb of chi­seled rock
Thy glo­ry could not all re­press:
A mo­ment hid, with earth­quake shock
Abroad it streamed again to bless;
First an­gels caught the vi­sion bright,
Then broke its beams on mor­tal sight;
The Con­quer­or of Death and Hell,
Thou stoodst, Thy friends each word at­tend­ing,
Till on their wist­ful eyes there fell
Splendors di­vine from Thee as­cend­ing!

For ev­er on the un­veiled throne,
O Lamb di­vine! en­robed in light;
Thou life and love, and joy un­known,
Dost shed while ag­es wing their flight;
The che­ru­bim be­fore Thee bow,
The full­ness of the God­head Thou!
Thy un­cre­at­ed beau­ty greets
The long­ing eyes that, up­ward gaz­ing,
Feast on Thy smile, which ev­er meets
Thy saints that wait be­fore Thee prais­ing.

Head ov­er all! ’tis Thine to reign;
The groan­ing earth with joy shall see
What ag­es sought, but sought in vain,
The balm for all its woes in Thee;
Eyes fixed on Thee shall dry their tears,
Hearts stayed on Thee shall lose their fears;
Fair in­no­cence and love shall breathe
Their frag­rant breath o’er vale and mount­ain,
And faith pure al­tars shall en­wreathe,
And na­tions bathe in Cal­vary’s foun­tain.

Crowned Lord of lords, Thy pow’r shall bring
Thy saints Thy glo­ry to par­take;
Thyself en­throned eter­nal King,
Of them Thy love shall princ­es make;
And priests, that in the Ho­ly Place
Shall serve, adorned and full of grace;
The Church, Thy queen­ly bride, shall stand,
In ves­ture like Thy bright­ness shin­ing,
Content to clasp Thy roy­al hand,
All oth­er love for Thine re­sign­ing.

O Love be­yond all mor­tal thought!
Unquenchable by flood or sea!
Love that, through death, to man hath brought
The life of im­mor­ta­li­ty!
Thou dost en­kindle Heav’n’s own fire
In hearts all dead to high de­sire.
Let love for love our souls in­flame,
The per­fect love that fail­eth ne­ver;
And sweet ho­san­nas to Thy name
Through Heav’n’s vast dome go up for ev­er!