Scripture Verse

Behold, a sower went forth to sow. Matthew 13:3


Words: Will­iam S. Bourne, 1874. This hymn was writ­ten for Har­vest Fes­tiv­al at Christ Church, South Ash­ford, Kent, Eng­land.

Music: St. Bea­trice John F. Bridge, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1875 (🔊 pdf nwc).

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

John F. Bridge (1844–1924)


The sow­er went forth sow­ing,
The seed in sec­ret slept
Through weeks of faith and pa­tience,
Till out the green blade crept;
And warmed by gold­en sun­shine,
And fed by sil­ver rain,
At last the fields were whit­ened
To har­vest once again.
O praise the hea­ven­ly Sow­er,
Who gave the fruit­ful seed,
And watched and wa­tered du­ly,
And rip­ened for our need.

Behold! the hea­ven­ly Sow­er
Goes forth with bet­ter seed,
The Word of sure sal­va­tion,
With feet and hands that bleed;
Here in His Church ’tis scat­tered,
Our spir­its are the soil;
Then let an am­ple fruit­age
Repay His pain and toil.
Oh, beau­te­ous is the har­vest,
Wherein all good­ness thrives,
And this the true thanks­giv­ing,
The first fruits of our lives.

Within a hal­lowed acre
He sows yet oth­er grain,
When peace­ful earth re­ceiv­eth
The dead He died to gain;
For though the growth be hid­den,
We know that they shall rise;
Yea even now they rip­en
In sun­ny pa­ra­dise.
O sum­mer land of har­vest,
O fields for­ev­er white
With souls that wear Christ’s rai­ment,
With crowns of gold­en light.

One day the hea­ven­ly Sow­er
Shall reap where He hath sown,
And come again re­joic­ing,
And with Him bring His own;
And then the fan of judg­ment
Shall win­now from His floor
The chaff in­to the fur­nace
That flam­eth ev­er­more.
O holy, aw­ful Reap­er,
Have mer­cy in the day,
Thou put­test in the sick­le,
And cast us not away.