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