1808-1889
portrait

December 19, 1808, Old Broughton, Edinburgh, Scotland.

July 31, 1889, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Canongate churchyard, Edinburgh.

portrait

Bonar has been called the prince of Scottish hymn writers. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he was ordained in 1838, and became pastor of the North Parish, Kelso. He joined the Free Church of Scotland after the Disruption of 1843, and for a while edited the church’s The Border Watch. Bonar stayed in Kelso for 28 years, then moved to the Chalmers Memorial Church in Edinburgh, where he served the rest of his life. Bonar wrote more than 600 hymns. At a memorial service following his death, his friend, Rev. E. H. Lundie, said:

His hymns were written in very varied circumstances, sometimes timed by the tinkling brook that babbled near him; sometimes attuned to the ordered tramp of the ocean, whose crested waves broke on the beach by which he wandered; sometimes set to the rude music of the railway train that hurried him to the scene of duty; sometimes measured by the silent rhythm of the midnight stars that shone above him.

Bonar’s works include:

A STRANGER HERE

I miss the dear paternal dwelling,
Which memory still undimmed recalls,
A thousand early stories telling,
I miss the venerable walls.

I miss the chamber of my childhood,
I miss the shade of boyhood’s tree—
The glen, the path, the cliff, the wildwood,
The music of the well known sea.

I miss the ivied haunt of moonlight,
I miss the forest and the stream,
I miss the fragrant grove of noonlight,
I miss our mountain’s sunset gleam.

I miss the green slope, where reposing,
I mused upon the near and far,
Marked, one by one, each floweret closing,
Watched, one by one, each opening star.

I miss the well remembered faces,
The voices, forms of fresher days;
Time ploughs not up these deep drawn traces,
These lines no ages can erase.

I miss them all, for, unforgetting,
My spirit o’er the past still strays,
And, much its wasted years regretting,
It treads again these shaded ways.

I mourn not that each early token
Is now to me a faded flower,
Nor that magic snare is broken
That held me with its mystic power.

I murmur not that now a stranger,
I pass along the smiling earth;
I know the share, I dread the danger,
I hate the haunts, I shun the mirth.

My hopes are passing upward, onward,
And with my hopes my heart has gone;
My eye is turning skyward, sunward,
Where glory brightens round yon throne.

My spirit seeks its dwelling yonder;
And faith fore-dates the joyful day
When these old skies shall cease to sunder
The one dear, love-linked family.

Well pleased I find years rolling o’er me,
And hear each day time’s measured tread;
Far fewer clouds now stretch before me,
Behind me is the darkness spread.

And summer’s suns are swiftly setting,
And life moves downward in their train,
And autumn dews are fondly wetting
The faded cheek of earth in vain.

December moons are coldly waning,
And life with them is on the wane;
Storm laden skies with sad complaining,
Bend blackly o’er the unsmiling main.

My future from my past unlinking,
Each dying year untwines the spell;
The visible is swiftly sinking,
Uprises the invisible.

To light, unchanging and eternal,
From mists that sadden this bleak waste,
To scenes that smile for ever vernal,
From winter’s blackening leaf I haste.

Earth, what a sorrow lives before thee,
None like it in the shadowy past—
The sharpest throe that ever tore thee,
Even tho’ the briefest and the last!

I see the fair moon veil her luster,
I see the sackcloth of the sun;
The shrouding of each starry cluster,
The threefold woe of earth begun.

I see the shadows of its sunset;
And wrapped in these the Avenger’s form;
I see the Armageddon onset;
But I shall be above the storm.

There comes the moaning and the sighing,
There comes the hot tear’s heavy fall,
The thousand agonies of dying—
But I shall be beyond them all.

Horatius Bonar
Hymns of Faith and Hope, 1857

  1. Almighty Comforter and Friend
  2. All That I Was
  3. All Well
  4. Angel Voices, Sweetly Singing
  5. Ascend, Beloved, to the Joy
    • Long, Long Deferred, Now Come at Last
  6. Bathed in Unfallen Sunlight
  7. Be Brave, My Brother
  8. Be Still, My Soul, Jehovah Loveth Thee
  9. Bear Thou My Burden
  10. Beloved, Let Us Love
  11. Beyond the Smiling and the Weeping
  12. Blessed Be God, Our God
  13. Blessèd Night, When First That Plain
  14. Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power
  15. Brethren, Arise, Let Us Go Hence
  16. Bridegroom Comes, The
  17. By the Cross of Jesus Standing
  18. Calm Me, My God
  19. Christ Has Done the Mighty Work
  20. Church Has Waited Long, The
  21. Come, Lord, and Tarry Not
  22. Come, Mighty Spirit, Penetrate
  23. Cry of the Weary, The
  24. Day After Armageddon, The
  25. Deep Down Beneath the Unresting Surge
  26. Done Is the Work That Saves
  27. Eternity Is Drawing Nigh
  28. Everlasting Praises
  29. Far Down the Ages Now
  30. Father, Make Use of Me
  31. Father, Our Children Keep
  32. Fear Not the Foe, Thou Flock of God
  33. Few More Years Shall Roll, A
  34. Fill Thou My Life
  35. Finish Thy Work, the Time Is Short
  36. For Lack of Love I Languish
  37. For the Bread and for the Wine
  38. For Thee We Long and Pray
  39. From the Cross the Blood Is Falling
  40. From This Bleak Hill of Storms
  41. Glory Be to God the Father
  42. Go, Labor On: Spend, and Be Spent
  43. Go Up, Go Up, My Heart
  44. Great Ruler of the Land and Sea
  45. Hallelujah for the Cross!
  46. He Called Them, and They Left
  47. He Has Come, the Christ of God
  48. He Is Near
  49. He Is Risen
  50. He Liveth Long Who Liveth Well
  51. Help Me, My God, to Speak
  52. Here, O My Lord, I See Thee
  53. Here Shall Death’s Triumph End
  54. Holy Father, Hear My Cry
  55. Holy Father, Mighty God
  56. Ho, Ye Thirsty, Parched and Fainting
  57. How Are My Troubles Multiplied
  58. How Long?
  59. How Sweetly Doth He Show His Face
  60. I Ask a Perfect Creed
    • O True One, Give Me Truth
  61. I Close My Heavy Eye
  62. I Hear the Words of Love
  63. I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
  64. I Lay My Sins on Jesus
  65. I See the Crowd in Pilate’s Hall
  66. I Shall Be Satisfied
  67. I Thought upon My Sins
  68. I Was a Wandering Sheep
  69. I Weep, but Do Not Yield
  70. Jesus, My Sorrow Lies Too Deep
  71. Jesus, Sun and Shield Art Thou
  72. Jesus the Christ of God
  73. Jesus, While This Rough Desert Soil
  74. Jesus, Whom Angel Hosts Adore
  75. Let There Be Light, Jehovah Said
  76. Let Us Draw Near
  77. Lie Down, Frail Body, Here
    • Rest for the Toiling Hand
    • Soon Shall the Trump of God
  78. Light Hath Arisen, The
  79. Light of Life So Softly Shining
  80. Light of the World! Forever, Ever Shining
  81. Lo, God, Our God, Has Come!
  82. Lord, Give Me Light to Do Thy Work
  83. Lost Soul, The
  84. Make Haste, O Man, to Live
  85. Make Use of Me, My God
  86. Martyr’s Grave, The
  87. Master’s Touch, The
  88. Mind at Perfect Peace, A
  89. Morning, the Bright and the Beautiful Morning, The
  90. Nay, ’Tis Not What We Fancied It
    • O ’Tis Not What We Fancied It
  91. Night Cometh, The
  92. No Blood, No Altar Now
  93. No, Not Despairingly
  94. No Seas Again Shall Ever Sever
  95. No Shadows Yonder
  96. Not to Ourselves Again
  97. Not What I Am, O Lord
  98. Not What These Hands Have Done
  99. Not with the Light and Vain
  100. Now in Parting, Father, Bless Us
  101. O Everlasting Light
  102. O Love Invisible, Yet Infinite
  103. O Love of God, How Strong and True
  104. O Love That Casts Out Fear
  105. O Strong to Save and Bless
  106. O This Soul, How Dark and Blind
  107. Of Old They Sang the Song of Liberty
    • Free One Makes You Free, The
  108. On the Great Love of God I Lean
  109. On Thee, O Jesus, Strongly Leaning
  110. Only Remembered
  111. Oppressed with Noonday’s Scorching Heat
  112. Peace to the World
  113. Peace upon Peace, Like Wave on Wave
  114. Praises to Him Who Built the Hills
  115. Rejoice and Be Glad!
  116. Safe Across the Waters
  117. Shall This Life of Mine Be Wasted?
  118. Silent, Like Men in Solemn Haste
  119. Sinful Man Am I, A
  120. Sing Them, My Children
  121. Songs of Gladness
  122. Sounds the Trumpet from Afar
  123. Sower Divine, Sow the Good Seed in Me
  124. Speak, Lips of Mine
  125. Speaketh the Sinner’s Sin Within My Heart
  126. Spirit of Everlasting Grace
  127. Surely, Yon Heaven, Where Angels See God’s Face
  128. That Clime Is Not Like This Dull Clime of Ours
  129. Thee in the Loving Bloom of Morn
  130. There Is a Morning Star, My Soul
  131. These Are the Crowns That We Shall Wear
    • That City with the Jeweled Crest
    • Yon City, with the Jeweled Crest
  132. This Is Not My Place of Resting
  133. This Is the Day of Toil
  134. This Is the Day of Toil
  135. Through Death to Life
  136. Through Good Report and Evil, Lord
  137. Thy Thoughts Are Here, My God
  138. Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord
  139. Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ
  140. Till the Day Dawn
  141. ’Tis Thus They Press the Hand and Part
  142. To Him Who Spread the Skies
  143. To Jehovah, God of Might
  144. To the Name of God on High
  145. Trustingly, Trustingly
  146. Unto th’Eternal Hills
  147. Upward Where the Stars Are Burning
  148. We Take the Peace Which He Hath Won
  149. Weep, Pilgrim, Weep
  150. Welcome! Wanderer, Welcome!
  151. When the Weary, Seeking Rest
  152. Where the Faded Flower Shall Freshen
  153. Who Are These, and Whence Came They?
  154. Word Made Flesh, The
  155. Yes, for Me He Careth
  156. Yet There Is Room