All hail! our Church's Elder dear,
Jesus, her glorious head!
To Thy disciples now appear,
As risen from the dead;
Let our rejoicing souls in Thee,
The tokens of Thy Passion see,
And hear Thy gentle voice anew,
Say "Peace be unto you."
Remembering what our fathers told,
Thou didst in their young day,
This solemn Jubilee we hold,
That we, as then did they,
Ourselves in covenant may bind,
With soul and strength, and heart and mind,
Through life and death, on land, o'er sea,
Meekly to follow Thee.
Revive Thy work amidst the years,
Our brethren still employ,
O'er heathen soils to sow in tears,
With hope to reap in joy:
Though wide the fields, the labourers few,
If Thou our failing faith renew,
The weakest of Thy servants, we
Can all things do through Thee.
Through Thee, from Greenland's sterile rocks,
Rich harvests have been led;
In Indian forests wandering flocks,
With heavenly knowledge fed;
In island-prisons o'er the sea,
Bond-slaves have been made gospel-free;
Midst lion-haunts, on Afric sands,
Strange tribes lift holy hands.
To-day, one world-neglected race,
We fervently commend
To Thee, and to Thy Word of grace;
Lord, visit and befriend
People scatter'd, peel'd, and rude,
By land and ocean-solitude,
Cut off from ev'ry social shore,
In dreary Labrador.
Thither, while to and fro she steers,
Still guide our annual bark1313For particulars of the missionary
ship, and the providence which has preserved her through so many perilous
annual voyages, vide periodical accounts of the Missions of
the United Brethren. ,
By night and day, through hopes and fears,
While, lonely as the ark,
Along her single track she braves,
Gulphs, whirlpools, ice-fields, winds, and waves,
To waft glad tidings to the shore
Of longing Labrador.
How welcome to the watching eye,
From morn till evening fix'd,
The first faint speck that shews her nigh,
Where surge and sky are miss'd;
Till looming large, and larger yet,
With bounding prow, and sails full set,
She speeds to anchor on the shore
Of joyful Labrador.
Then hearts with hearts, and souls with souls,
In thrilling transport meet,
Though dark and broad the Atlantic rolls,
Between their parted feet:
For written words, with boundless range,
Thoughts, feelings, prayers, can interchange,
And once a year join Britain's shore
To kindred Labrador.
Then at the vessel's glad return,
The absent meet again;
At home our hearts within us burn,
To trace the cunning pen,
Whose strokes, like rays from star to star,
Bring happy messages from far,
And once a year to Britain's shore
Join Christian Labrador.
O Thou, in whom we all are one,
If faithful found and true,
Thy will on earth by each be done,
As each in heaven would do:
To Thee ourselves we first would give,
Live to Thy glory while we live;
From step to step on Thee rely,
Then in Thy service die.
Montgomery, James, son of John Montgomery, a Moravian minister, was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Nov. 4, 1771. In 1776 he removed with his parents to the Moravian Settlement at Gracehill, near Ballymena, county of Antrim. Two years after he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary, Yorkshire. He left Fulneck in 1787, and entered a retail shop at Mirfield, near Wakefield. Soon tiring of that he entered upon a similar situation at Wath, near Rotherham, only to find it quite as unsuitable to his taste as the former. A journey to London, with the hope of finding a publisher for his youthful poems ended in failure; and in 1792 he was glad to leave Wath for Shefield to join Mr. Gales, an auctioneer, bookseller, and printer of the Sheffield Register newspap… Go to person page >
All hail! our Church's Elder dear. J. Montgomery. This appeared in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 273, in three parts, with the beading "For the Centenary Anniversaries of the Brethren's Eldership, and the beginning of the Society for the furtherance of the Gospel in the Moravian Church, November 13 and 19, 1841." It is in 10 stanzas of 8 lines, of which stanzas i.-iii. are given in the Moravian Hymn Book, 1886, as No. 835.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)