To the Sinner

Open thy doors, O stubborn heart,
Thy gates of stone fling wide apart,
The Lord of heaven is come !
He left for thee His throne and state,
Intent to take thee for His mate,
And make thy heart His home.

Long has He tracked thy devious way,
And seen thee wandering far astray,
Upon destruction bent.
But yet He would not thee forsake,
Nor from thee would His mercy take,
But oft deliverance sent

He called : His voice thou wouldst not hear ;
He frowned : His wrath thou wouldst not fear ;
His gifts were all misused.
But still He plied His thankless task,
And condescended oft to ask,
Though oft He was refused.

Look forth, and see who courts thy love.
And longs to take thee for His dove,
To nestle in His breast.
Fain would He break thy galling chain,
Fain would He all thy foes restrain,
And lead thee into rest.

What hast thou to be valued more
Than He who stands thy gate before,
And access seeks to win ?
Art thou not wretched, naked, blind,
With unclean heart, distempered mind.
All darkness and all sin ?

Awake, O Spirit of the Son,
Thy olden works again be done,
In opening closed hearts.
Put in Thy hand, the bars undo,
The carnal mind with grace renew,
Before the Lord departs.

Without Thee, vain the trumpet’s blast.
In vain the summons wide we cast,
Till Thou Thy help extend.
Our field with precious seed is sown,
But yet with thorns ’tis all o’ergrown
Till Thou in rain descend.

Praises to Him the Son who gave ;
Praises to Him who came to save ;
But praises, too, to Thee
Who goest forth to work unseen
(Tho’ soon we know where Thou hast bee:i)
To set the captive free.

-John Milne, from The Life of John Milne by Horatius Bonar, Banner of Truth Trust, 66-67.

I Am Thy Levite Lord

I am Thy Levite, Lord; Thou art my lot alone.
Give me a will in sweet accord with all that is Thine own.
Great things I will not seek; they only prove a snare:
Enough if Thou my spirit keep, unhurt by sin and care.
Too long I’ve lived for time; too long have walked by sight.
Let me now leave this earthly slime, for things all great and bright.
Give me that unction pure, which opes the blinded eye,
And let me see, right clear and sure, the things that are on high.
Oh! clothe me with Thy righteousness, and make me clean within,
That I may see Thy blessed face, thy grace and mercy win.
Lead me within the veil, where stands Thy glorious throne,
And let my Savior’s plea prevail, as if it were mine own.
Here I Thy name will praise, Thine anger’s turned away;
And Thou wilt magnify Thy grace, and all thy love display.
What wilt Thou, Lord, that I for Thee should do or bear?
My heart will joyfully comply to serve Thee everywhere.
To battle forth I go; Jehovah is my strength:
I will not fear though strong the foe; I shall prevail at length.

-John Milne, from The Life of John Milne by Horatius Bonar, Banner of Truth Trust, 38-39

Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord,

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Lead me by Thine own hand,
Choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not, if I might;
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So I shall walk aright.

Take Thou my cup, and it
With joy or sorrow fill,
As best to Thee may seem;
Choose Thou my good and ill.

Choose Thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health;
Choose Thou my cares for me
My poverty or wealth.

The kingdom that I seek
Is Thine: so let the way
That leads to it be Thine,
Else I must surely stray.

Not mine, not mine the choice
In things or great or small;
Be Thou my Guide, my Strength
My Wisdom, and my All.

-Horatius Bonar, 1857.

 

I Lay My Sins on Jesus

I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us from the accursèd load;
I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains
White in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains.

I lay my wants on Jesus; all fullness dwells in Him;
He heals all my diseases, He doth my soul redeem:
I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares;
He from them all releases, He all my sorrows shares.

I rest my soul on Jesus, this weary soul of mine;
His right hand me embraces, I on His breast recline.
I love the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, Christ, the Lord;
Like fragrance on the breezes His Name abroad is poured.

I long to be like Jesus, strong, loving, lowly, mild;
I long to be like Jesus, the Father’s holy Child:
I long to be with Jesus, amid the heavenly throng,
To sing with saints His praises, to learn the angels’ song.

-Horatius Bonar, Songs for the Wilderness, 1843. This is believed to be Bonar’s first hymn. He lat­er apol­o­gized for it, say­ing, “It might be good Gos­pel, but it is not good po­e­try.”

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, till traveling days are done.

-Horatius Bonar, Hymns Original and Selected, 1846

I Was a Wandering Sheep

I was a wandering sheep,
I did not love the fold;
I did not love my Shepherd’s voice,
I would not be controlled.
I was a wayward child,
I did not love my home;
I did not love my Father’s voice,
I loved afar to roam.

The Shepherd sought His sheep,
The Father sought His child;
They followed me o’er vale and hill,
O’er deserts waste and wild;
They found me nigh to death,
Famished and faint and lone;
They bound me with the bands of love,
They saved the wand’ring one.

They spoke in tender love,
They raised my drooping head,
They gently closed my bleeding wounds,
My fainting soul they fed;
They washed my filth away,
They made me clean and fair;
They brought me to my home in peace,
The long sought wanderer.

Jesus my Shepherd is:
’Twas He that loved my soul;
’Twas He that washed me in His blood,
’Twas He that made me whole.
’Twas He that sought the lost,
That found the wand’ring sheep,
’Twas He that brought me to the fold,
’Tis He that still doth keep.

No more a wandering sheep,
I love to be controlled;
I love my tender Shepherd’s voice,
I love the peaceful fold.
No more a wayward child,
I seek no more to roam;
I love my heavenly Father’s voice,
I love, I love His home!

-Horatius Bonar, 1843

He Has Come, The Christ of God

He has come, the Christ of God:
Left for us His glad abode;
Stooping from His throne of bliss
To this darksome wilderness.

He has come, the Prince of Peace:
Come to bid our sorrows cease;
Come to scatter with His light
All the shadows of our night.

He, the mighty King, has come,
Making this poor earth His home:
Come to bear our sin’s sad load,
Son of David, Son of God.

He has come, whose Name of grace
Speaks deliverance to our race:
Left for us His glad abode,
Son of Mary, Son of God.

Unto us a Child is born:
Ne’er has earth beheld a morn
Among all the morns of time,
Half so glorious in its prime.

Unto us a Son is given:
He has come from God’s own Heaven,
Bringing with Him from above
Holy peace and holy love.

-Horatius Bonar, 1857

I See the Crowd in Pilate’s Hall

I see the crowd in Pilate’s hall,
their furious cries I hear;
their shouts of “Crucify!” appall,
their curses fill mine ear.
And of that shouting multitude
I feel that I am one,
and in that din of voices rude
I recognize my own.

I see the scourgers rend the flesh
of God’s belovèd Son;
and as they smite I feel afresh
that I of them am one.
Around the Cross the throng I see
that mock the Sufferer’s groan,
yet still my voice it seems to be,
as if I mocked alone.

‘Twas I that shed that sacred Blood,
I nailed him to the Tree,
I crucified the Christ of God,
I joined the mockery.
Yet not the less that Blood avails
to cleanse me from sin,
and not the less that Cross prevails
to give me peace within.

-Horatius Bonar, 1856