Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
Words: Charles L. Ford, translated from German to English in his Lyra Christi (London: Houlston & Sons, 1874).
If you know where to get a good photo of Ford (head-and-shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels), would you ?
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!