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. Day After Armageddon, The
  24. Deep Down Beneath the Unresting Surge
  25. Done Is the Work That Saves
  26. Eternity Is Drawing Nigh
  27. Everlasting Praises
  28. Far Down the Ages Now
  29. Father, Make Use of Me
  30. Father, Our Children Keep
  31. Fear Not the Foe, Thou Flock of God
  32. Few More Years Shall Roll, A
  33. Fill Thou My Life
  34. Finish Thy Work, the Time Is Short
  35. For Lack of Love I Languish
  36. For the Bread and for the Wine
  37. For Thee We Long and Pray
  38. From the Cross the Blood Is Falling
  39. From This Bleak Hill of Storms
  40. Glory Be to God the Father
  41. Go, Labor On: Spend, and Be Spent
  42. Go Up, Go Up, My Heart
  43. Great Ruler of the Land and Sea
  44. Hallelujah for the Cross!
  45. He Called Them, and They Left
  46. He Has Come, the Christ of God
  47. He Is Near (I Know Not When the Lord Will Come)
  48. He Is Risen
  49. He Liveth Long Who Liveth Well
  50. Help Me, My God, to Speak
  51. Here, O My Lord, I See Thee
  52. Here Shall Death’s Triumph End
  53. Holy Father, Hear My Cry
  54. Holy Father, Mighty God
  55. Ho, Ye Thirsty, Parched and Fainting
  56. How Are My Troubles Multiplied
  57. How Long?
  58. How Sweetly Doth He Show His Face
  59. I Ask a Perfect Creed
    • O True One, Give Me Truth
  60. I Close My Heavy Eye
  61. I Hear the Words of Love
  62. I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
  63. I Lay My Sins on Jesus
  64. I See the Crowd in Pilate’s Hall
  65. I Shall Be Satisfied
  66. I Thought upon My Sins
  67. I Was a Wandering Sheep
  68. I Weep, but Do Not Yield
  69. Jesus, My Sorrow Lies Too Deep
  70. Jesus, Sun and Shield Art Thou
  71. Jesus the Christ of God
  72. Jesus, While This Rough Desert Soil
  73. Jesus, Whom Angel Hosts Adore
  74. Let There Be Light, Jehovah Said
  75. Let Us Draw Near
  76. Lie Down, Frail Body, Here
    • Rest for the Toiling Hand
    • Soon Shall the Trump of God
  77. Light Hath Arisen, The
  78. Light of Life So Softly Shining
  79. Light of the World! Forever, Ever Shining
  80. Lo, God, Our God, Has Come!
  81. Lord, Give Me Light to Do Thy Work
  82. Lost Soul, The
  83. Make Haste, O Man, to Live
  84. Make Use of Me, My God
  85. Martyr’s Grave, The
  86. Master’s Touch, The
  87. Mind at Perfect Peace, A
  88. Morning, the Bright and the Beautiful Morning, The
  89. Nay, ’Tis Not What We Fancied It
    • O ’Tis Not What We Fancied It
  90. Night Cometh, The
  91. No Blood, No Altar Now
  92. No, Not Despairingly
  93. No Seas Again Shall Ever Sever
  94. No Shadows Yonder
  95. Not to Ourselves Again
  96. Not What I Am, O Lord
  97. Not What These Hands Have Done
  98. Not with the Light and Vain
  99. Now in Parting, Father, Bless Us
  100. O Everlasting Light
  101. O Light of Light, Shine In
  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. Sounds the Trumpet from Afar
  122. Sower Divine, Sow the Good Seed in Me
  123. Speak, Lips of Mine
  124. Speaketh the Sinner’s Sin Within My Heart
  125. Spirit of Everlasting Grace
  126. Surely, Yon Heaven, Where Angels See God’s Face
  127. That Clime Is Not Like This Dull Clime of Ours
  128. Thee in the Loving Bloom of Morn
  129. There Is a Morning Star, My Soul
  130. These Are the Crowns That We Shall Wear
    • That City with the Jeweled Crest
    • Yon City, with the Jeweled Crest
  131. This Is the Day of Toil
  132. This Is Not My Place of Resting
  133. This Is the Day of Toil
  134. Through Death to Life
  135. Through Good Report and Evil, Lord
  136. Thy Thoughts Are Here, My God
  137. Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord
  138. Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ
  139. Till the Day Dawn
  140. ’Tis Thus They Press the Hand and Part
  141. To Him Who Spread the Skies
  142. To Jehovah, God of Might
  143. To the Name of God on High
  144. Trustingly, Trustingly
  145. Unto th’Eternal Hills
  146. Upward Where the Stars Are Burning
  147. We Take the Peace Which He Hath Won
  148. Weep, Pilgrim, Weep
  149. Welcome! Wanderer, Welcome!
  150. When the Weary, Seeking Rest
  151. Where the Faded Flower Shall Freshen
  152. Who Are These, and Whence Came They?
  153. Word Made Flesh, The
  154. Yes, for Me He Careth
  155. Yet There Is Room