1 Come, all ye Chosen Saints of God,
That long to feel the cleansing Blood,
In pensive Pleasure join with me,
To sing of sad Gethsemane.
2 Gethsemane the Olive Press!
(And why so call'd, let Christians guess)
Fit Name! Fit Place! Where Vengeance strove,
And grip'd and grappled hard with Love.
3 'Twas here the Lord of Life appear'd,
And sigh'd, and groan'd, and pray'd and fear'd;
Bore all incarnate God could bear,
With Strength enough--and none to spare.
4 The Pow'rs of hell united press'd,
And squeez'd his Heart, and bruiz'd his Breast.
What dreadful Conflicts rag'd within,
When Sweat and Blood forc'd thro the Skin!
5 Dispatch'd from Heaven an Angel stood,
Amaz'd to find him bath'd in Blood;
Ador'd by Angels, and obey'd;
But lower now than Angels made.
6 He stood to strengthen, not to fight;
Justice exacts its utmost Mite.
This Victim Vengeance will pursue;
He undertook, and must go through.
7 Three favor'd Servants left not far,
Were bid to wait and watch the War.
But Christ withdrawn, what Watch to keep!
To shun the Sight, they sunk in Sleep.
8 Backwards and forwards thrice he ran,
As if he sought some Help from Man;
Or wish'd at least they would condole
('Twas all they could) his tortur'd Soul.
9 Whate'er he sought for, there was none;
Our Captain fought the Field alone;
'Soon as the Chief to Battle led,
That Moment ev'ry Soldier fled.
10 Mysterious Conflict! Dark Disguise!
Hid from all Creature's piercing Eyes.
Angels astonish'd view'd the Scene,
And wonder yet what all could mean.
11 Oh, Mount of Olives! sacred Grove!
Oh, Garden, Scene of tragic Love!
What bitter Herbs thy Beds produce!
How rank their Scent! How harsh their Juice!
12 Rare Virtues now those Herbs contain:
The Sav'our suck'd out all their Bane.
My Mouth with these if Conscience cram,
I'll eat them with the Paschal Lamb.
13 Oh, Kedron, gloomy Brook, how foul
Thy black polluted Waters roll!
No Tongue can tell (but some can taste)
The Filth that into thee was cast.
14 In Eden's Garden, there was Food
Of ev'ry kind for Man, while good;
But banish'd thence, we fly to Thee,
O Garden of Gethsemane.
Come, all ye chosen saints of God. J. Hart. [Passion Week.] The following account of the origin of this hymn is given in the author's "Experience," which accompanies his Hymns:—
"The week before Easter, 1757,1 had such an amazing view of the agony of Christ in the garden, as I know not well how to describe. I was lost in wonder and adoration, and the impression it made was too deep, I believe, ever to be obliterated. I shall say no more of this, but only remark that notwithstanding all that is talked about the sufferings of Jesus, none can know anything of them but by the Holy Ghost; and, I believe, he that knows most knows but very little. It was upon this I made the first part of hymn 1, ‘On the Passion,' which, however, I afterwards mutilated and altered."
The hymn was published in his Hymns composed on Various Subjects, 1759, in 2 parts of 24 stanzas in all. As given in modern collections, as in Spurgeon's Our Own Hymn Book, it is a cento from the original with variations in the text.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)