Scripture Verse

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Psalm 60:4


Words: Ma­ria B. W. Barnes, in Brad­bu­ry’s Gold­en Chain of Sab­bath School Me­lo­dies, by Will­iam B. Brad­bu­ry (New York: Iv­i­son, Phin­ney, 1861), page 53, alt. Some hym­nals give the au­thor as Kate Ca­mer­on, Barnes’ pseu­do­nym.

Music: Star Span­gled Ban­ner John Staf­ford Smith (1750–1836). Har­mo­ny by Ar­thur Edw­ard John­stone (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Barnes (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


It first was unfurled
Upon Bethlehem’s plain,
Where shepherds their lone
Starry night watch were keeping;
And Judea’s hills
Echoed back the refrain,
While God’s chosen race
All unconscious were sleeping,
As angelic bands
Lifted high in their hands
The standard which yet
Was to conquer all lands,
O say, does the blest
Gospel banner yet wave
Over altars and homes,
And the path to the grave?

Yes! from dark lonely towers
It floated for years
When dim mists and black shadows
Enveloped the ages,
At first crimsoned with blood,
And then darkened with tears,
With which martyrs recorded
Their names on earth’s pages,
Now hath vanished the night,
And we hail the glad light,
Which illumines that banner,
Unfurled to our sight,
’Tis the blest Gospel banner,
And long may it wave
Over altars and homes,
And the path to the grave.

And thus be it ever
With foes of the right,
Who hurl on our cause
Their fierce imprecations,
For God helps to triumph
In His holy might,
The men who will serve Him
Through all generations;
And when dust to dust shall
Return, as it must,
We praise Him forever,
Who now is our trust:
And the blest Gospel banner
Its glory shall wave,
Over altars and homes,
And the path to the grave!