Behold What Witnesses Unseen

Representative Text

1 Behold what witnesses unseen
encompass us around,
who, once like us, with suffering tried,
but now with glory crowned.

2 Let us, with zeal like theirs inspired,
begin the Christian race,
and, freed from each encumbering weight,
their holy footsteps trace.

3 Behold a witness nobler still,
who trod affliction's path,
Jesus, at once the finisher
and author of our faith.

4 He for the joy before him set,
so generous was his love,
endured the cross, despised the shame,
and now he reigns above.

5 Then let our hearts no more despond,
our hands be weak no more;
still let us trust our Father's love,
his wisdom still adore.

Source: Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #743

Text Information

First Line: Behold what witnesses unseen
Title: Behold What Witnesses Unseen
Meter: 8.6.8.6
Copyright: Public Domain

Notes

Behold what witnesses unseen. [Cross and Consolation.] First appeared as No. 12 in the Draft Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1745, as a version of Hebrews xii. 1-13, in 12 stanzas of 4 lines. The author is unknown. In the revised edition, issued in 1751, a new stanza was added as iii., and slight alterations were made in other stanzas. In the Draft of 1781, the 1751 was repeated with various alterations, as No. 59; and with further alterations of 16 lines, in the public worship edition issued in that year by the Church of Scotland, and still in use. In the markings by the eldest daughter of W. Cameron (q.v.), the alterations of 1781 are ascribed to Logan and Cameron. The text of 1781 has passed, in abridged forms, into a few modern hymnals, as Maurice's Choral Hymn Book, 1861, No. 209, omitting stanza ix.; and the English Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns, 1867; and Church Praise, 1883, reduced to 6 stanzas. In the American Prayer Book Collection, 1826, No. 212 (edition 1871, No. 183), and others it began, "Lo! what a cloud of witnesses;" while in Rorison's Hymns adapted to the Church Services, I860, it is, "A witness-host, by us unseen." In Anderson's Collection, Edinburgh, 1818, No. 359 begins with stanza vi. altered to, "Like Christ, have ye, to blood or death," and No. 360, with stanza x., "A father's voice, with reverence, we." It is included, considerably altered, as No. 85 in Miss Leeson's Paraphrases & Hymns, 1853, in three parts, pt. ii. beginning, "Lo! for the joy before Him set," and pt. iii., "Through all the hard experience led." [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Timeline

Instances

Instances (1 - 4 of 4)
TextPage Scan

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #743

Text

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #743

Page Scan

The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #R59a

Page Scan

The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #R59b

Include 12 pre-1979 instances
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