Scripture Verse

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

Introduction

portrait
Sydney H. Nicholson (1875–1947)
National Portrait Gallery

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Words: Charles L. Ford, trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish in his Ly­ra Chris­ti (Lon­don: Houls­ton & Sons, 1874).

Music: Tra­fal­gar Syd­ney H. Ni­chol­son, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1916 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Ford (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Lyrics

Brother in Christ! thy heart pre­pare,
Gird up thy loins, and mount with me
In soul yon blood-stained heights, to share
The sight which an­gels won­der­ing see;
Hear on this spot of ho­ly ground
Thy Sav­ior’s dy­ing words re­sound,
And take to thee their strength di­vine;
For they can rich­est so­lace lend
Through life—yea, and when life shall end,
Such on­ly com­fort shall be thine.

O lov­ing heart! O pi­ty­ing eyes
Such look that on His mur­der­ers threw!
Forgive, amidst His pain He cries,
They know not, Fa­ther, what they do.
Lover of men, Thy sup­pli­ant pray­er
Ascends for those who nail Thee there,
Who on Thy grief with mock­er­ies gaze.
O man, by veng­eful pass­ions driv­en,
Behold thy bright ex­am­ple giv­en,
And pray as thy Re­deem­er prays.

What pat­tern of af­fec­tion large,
When, rising thou­sand pangs above,
He re­com­mends the fi­li­al charge
To the dis­ci­ple of His love!
Must I my own be­loved ones see
Weep round my dy­ing bed for me,
This word shall sweet­est com­fort bring;
To Him, whose lat­est man­date kind
Cared for the friends He left be­hind,
Shall those I leave for suc­cor cling.

Ho! sin-sick souls, dis­pel your fears!
Trust and be saved, in Christ con­fide:
Hear how the world’s Re­deem­er cheers
The con­trite sin­ner by His side.
He saith, con­sol­ing, Thou shalt be
Today in pa­ra­dise with Me
;
Such light at death’s dark gate be mine!
So may I hear Thy strength­en­ing voice;
Such watch­word sweet my soul re­joice
When in the last dread strife I join.

How sharp the sin-aveng­ing rod
That urged Him, hang­ing on the tree,
Loudly to cry, My God, My God,
Wherefore hast Thou for­sak­en Me?

Yet thus, in na­ture’s weak­est hour,
When dark­ness o’er His soul hath pow­er,
His heart’s firm trust is un­for­got.
I too the cup of grief shall drain;
My sink­ing soul shall cry, through pain,
O God, my God, for­sake me not!