1808-1889
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December 19, 1808, Old Broughton, Edinburgh, Scotland.

July 31, 1889, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Canongate churchyard, Edinburgh, Scotland.

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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. Abide with Us
  2. Almighty Comforter and Friend
  3. All That I Was
  4. All Well
  5. Anchor Within the Veil, The
  6. Angel Voices Sweetly Singing
  7. Arise, Shine for Thy Light Is Come
  8. Ascend, Beloved, to the Joy
    • Long, Long Deferred, Now Come at Last
  9. At Last
  10. Bathed in Unfallen Sunlight
  11. Battle Song of the Church, The
  12. Be Brave, My Brother
  13. Be Still, My Soul, Jehovah Loveth Thee
  14. Bear Thou My Burden
  15. Beckon Us Upward
  16. Begin with God
  17. Beloved, Let Us Love
  18. Bethlehem
  19. Better Will, The
  20. Beyond the Smiling and the Weeping
  21. Bless the Lord
  22. Blessed Be God, Our God
  23. Blessèd Night, When First That Plain
  24. Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power
  25. Brethren, Arise, Let Us Go Hence
  26. Bridegroom Comes, The
  27. By the Cross of Jesus Standing
  28. Calm Me, My God
  29. Christ of God, The
  30. Church Has Waited Long, The
  31. Come, Lord, and Tarry Not
  32. Come, Mighty Spirit
  33. Creation in Earnest
  34. Cry of the Weary, The
  35. Day After Armageddon, The
  36. Deep Down Beneath the Unresting Surge
  37. Ecce Homo!
  38. Eternity Is Drawing Nigh
  39. Everlasting Praises
  40. Far Down the Ages Now
  41. Father, Make Use of Me
  42. Father, Our Children Keep
  43. Fear Not, Daughter of Zion
  44. Few More Years Shall Roll, A
  45. Fill Thou My Life
  46. Finish Thy Work, the Time Is Short
  47. For Lack of Love
  48. For the Bread and for the Wine
  49. For Thee We Long and Pray
  50. Fresh from the Throne of Glory
  51. From the Cross the Blood Is Falling
  52. Give Thou Thy Youth to God
  53. Glory Be to God the Father
  54. Go, Labor On: Spend, and Be Spent
  55. Go Up, Go Up, My Heart
  56. Gold and the Heart
  57. Graves of Ocean, The
  58. Great Ruler of the Land and Sea
  59. Hallelujah for the Cross!
  60. He Called Them, and They Left
  61. He Has Come, the Christ of God
  62. He Is Coming
  63. He Is Near
  64. He Is Risen
  65. He Liveth Long Who Liveth Well
  66. He Wept over It
  67. Help Me, My God, to Speak
  68. Here, O My Lord, I See Thee
  69. Here Shall Death’s Triumph End
  70. Holy Father, Hear My Cry
  71. Holy Father, Mighty God
  72. Ho, Ye Thirsty, Parched and Fainting
  73. How Are My Troubles Multiplied
  74. How Long?
  75. How Sweetly Doth He Show His Face
  76. Hymn of the Last Days
  77. I Ask a Perfect Creed
    • O True One, Give Me Truth
  78. I Close My Heavy Eye
  79. I Go to Life
  80. I Hear the Words of Love
  81. I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
  82. I Lay My Sins on Jesus
  83. I Shall Be Satisfied
  84. I Thought upon My Sins
  85. I Was a Wandering Sheep
  86. I Weep, but Do Not Yield
  87. Is This All?
  88. It Is Finished
  89. Jesu, Savior, Son of God
  90. Jesus, My Sorrow Lies Too Deep
  91. Jesus, Sun and Shield Art Thou
  92. Jesus, the Christ of God
  93. Jesus, While This Rough Desert Soil
  94. Judgment, The
  95. Let There Be Light, Jehovah Said
  96. Let Us Draw Near
  97. Let Us Go Forth
  98. Lie Down, Frail Body, Here
    • Rest for the Toiling Hand
    • Soon Shall the Trump of God
  99. Light Hath Arisen, The
  100. Light Is Come, The
  101. Light of Life So Softly Shining
  102. Light of the World! Forever, Ever Shining
  103. Little Flock! So Calls He Thee, A
    • Church of the Everlasting God
  104. Lo, God, Our God, Has Come!
  105. Lord, Give Me Light to Do Thy Work
  106. Lord Needeth Thee, The
  107. Lord, Thou Art Mine
  108. Lost Soul, The
  109. Make Haste, O Man, to Live
  110. Martyr’s Grave, The
  111. Master’s Touch, The
  112. Mind at Perfect Peace, A
  113. Morning, the Bright and the Beautiful Morning, The
  114. Nay, ’Tis Not What We Fancied It
    • O ’Tis Not What We Fancied It
  115. New Song, The
  116. Night Cometh, The
  117. No Blood, No Altar Now
  118. No, Not Despairingly
  119. No Shadows Yonder
  120. Not to Ourselves Again
  121. Not Very Far
  122. Not What I Am, O Lord
  123. Not What These Hands Have Done
  124. Not with the Light and Vain
  125. Now in Parting, Father, Bless Us
  126. O Everlasting Light
  127. O Love Invisible, Yet Infinite
  128. O Love of God, How Strong and True
  129. O Love That Casts Out Fear
  130. O Strong to Save and Bless
  131. O This Soul, How Dark and Blind
  132. Of Old They Sang the Song of Liberty
    • Free One Makes You Free, The
  133. Old Story, The
  134. On the Great Love of God I Lean
  135. On the Threshold
  136. On Thee, O Jesus, Strongly Leaning
  137. Only Remembered
  138. Pass over to Thy Rest
  139. Peace to the World
  140. Peace upon Peace, Like Wave on Wave
  141. Praises to Him Who Built the Hills
  142. Preserved by Thine Almighty Power
  143. Rejoice and Be Glad!
  144. Safe Across the Waters
  145. Shadow of the Cross, The
  146. Shall This Life of Mine Be Wasted?
    • Like the Eagle, Upward, Onward
  147. Silent, Like Men in Solemn Haste
  148. Sin and the Sin Bearer, The
  149. Sinful Man Am I, A
  150. Sing Them, My Children
  151. Sinner’s Burial, The
  152. Smooth Every Wave
  153. Song of the New Creation
  154. Songs of Gladness
  155. Sounds the Trumpet from Afar
  156. Source of All Love and Power
  157. Sower Divine, Sow the Good Seed in Me
  158. Speaketh the Sinner’s Sin Within My Heart
  159. Spirit of Everlasting Grace
  160. Summer of the Silent Heart
  161. Sunset and Sunrise
  162. That Clime Is Not Like This Dull Clime of Ours
  163. Thee in the Loving Bloom of Morn
  164. There Is a Morning Star, My Soul
  165. These Are the Crowns That We Shall Wear
    • That City with the Jeweled Crest
    • Yon City, with the Jeweled Crest
  166. This Is Not My Place of Resting
  167. This Is the Day of Toil
  168. Three Weepers, The
  169. Through Death to Life
  170. Through Good Report and Evil, Lord
  171. Thy Thoughts Are Here, My God
  172. Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord
  173. Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ
  174. Till the Day Dawn
  175. ’Tis Thus They Press the Hand and Part
  176. To Him Who Spread the Skies
  177. To Jehovah, God of Might
  178. To the Comforter
  179. To the Name of God on High
  180. Trustingly, Trustingly
  181. ’Twas I That Did It
  182. Two Prophets, The
  183. Unto th’Eternal Hills
  184. Up and Away, Like the Dew of the Morning
  185. Up, My Soul, ’Tis Day
  186. Upward Where the Stars Are Burning
  187. Use Me!
  188. Village of Siloam
  189. Voice of the Belovèd, The
  190. We Take the Peace Which He Hath Won
  191. Weep, Pilgrim, Weep
  192. Welcome! Wanderer, Welcome!
  193. When the Weary, Seeking Rest
  194. Where the Faded Flower Shall Freshen
  195. Who Are These, and Whence Came They?
  196. Why Walk in Darkness?
  197. Wise Weeping
  198. Word Made Flesh, The
    • Jesus, Whom Angel Hosts Adore
  199. Why Walk in Darkness?
  200. Work That Saves, The
  201. Yes, for Me He Careth
  202. Yet There Is Room