Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19–20
I wrote the greater part of the hymn, O, Sion, Haste, in the year 1868. I had written many hymns before, and one night, while I was sitting up with one of my children who was ill with typhoid fever, I thought I should like to write a missionary hymn to the tune of the hymn, Hark, Hark, My Soul, Angelic Songs Are Swelling, as I was fond of that tune, but as I could not then get a refrain I liked, I left the hymn unfinished and about three years later I finished it by writing the refrain which now forms a part of it.
O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling,
To tell to all the world that God is light,
That He who made all nations is not willing
One soul should perish, lost in shades of night.
Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace;
Tidings of Jesus, redemption and release.
Behold how many thousands still are lying
Bound in the darksome prison house of sin,
With none to tell them of the Savior’s dying,
Or of the life He died for them to win.
Proclaim to every people, tongue, and nation
That God, in whom they live and move, is love;
Tell how He stooped to save His lost creation,
And died on earth that we might live above.
’Tis thine to save from peril of perdition
The souls for whom the Lord His life laid down:
Beware lest, slothful to fulfill thy mission,
Thou lose one jewel that should deck His crown.
Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious;
Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way;
Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious;
O Zion, haste to bring the brighter day.
He comes again! O Zion, ere thou meet Him,
Make known to every heart His saving grace:
Let none whom he Hath ransomed fail to greet Him,
Through thy neglect, unfit to see His face.