Scripture Verse

King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. Daniel 3:16

Introduction

portrait
Thomas Kelly
(1769–1855)

Words: Tho­mas Kel­ly, Hymns Not Be­fore Pub­lished (Dub­lin: Tho­mas John­ston, 1815), num­ber 51, alt.

Music: Green Fields from The Pea­sant Can­ta­ta (Mer hahn en neue Ob­er­keet), by Jo­hann S. Bach, 1742. Ar­ranged by Lew­is Eds­on in The Cho­ris­ter’s Com­pan­ion (New Ha­ven, Con­nec­ti­cut: 1782) (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Johann S. Bach
(1685–1750)

Lyrics

When all were enjoined by decree,
Before the great image to fall,
The tyrant expected to see
His mandate complied with by all.
Whatever their master ordained,
Was done by the flexible crowd;
By fear of his anger constrained,
Before the great image they bowed.

But some there were found who refused
To prostrate themselves at his word;
They would not obey him, unused
T’adore any god but the Lord.
In vain did the tyrant proclaim,
His purpose to make them comply;
In vain did he point out the flame,
And bid them obey him or die.

The champions with confidence said,
Let others, O king, dread thine arm;
In vain are thy terrors displayed,
To us they convey no alarm.
Our God, whom we worship, is nigh
To save us, O king, from thine hand;
But know, we choose rather to die,
Than yield to thy impious command.

’Tis thus that the saints must obey,
Their work must be thoroughly done;
Though death should appear on the way,
Their duty is still to go on.
The Lord will approve at the last,
Those only who thus persevere;
And such, when the conflict is past,
Before Him with joy shall appear.