High Priest for sinners, Jesus, Lord!
Whom as a Man of Griefs I see
Thy prayers on earth, while I record,
If still in heaven Thou pray'st for me,
My soul, for thy soul's travail claim,
I seek salvation in Thy name.
Baptized as for the dead He rose,
With prayer from Jordan's hallow'd flood,
Ere long by persecuting foes,
To be baptized in His own blood,
The Father's voice proclaim'd the Son,
The spirit witness'd--These are One.
Early He rose, ere dawn of day,
And to a desert place withdrew;
There was He wont to watch and pray,
Until His locks were wet with dew,
And birds below, and beams above,
Had warn'd Him thence to works of love.
At evening, when His toils were o'er,
He sent the multitudes away,
And on the mountain or the shore,
All night remain'd to watch and pray,
Till o'er His head the stars grew dim,
When was the hour of rest for Him?
In field or city, while He taught,
Oft went His spirit forth in sighs;
And when His mightiest deeds were wrought,
To heaven he lifted up His eyes:
He pray'd at Lazarus' grave and shed
Tears with the word that waked the dead.
When mothers brought their babes, He took
The lambs into His arms, and pray'd;
On Tabor, His transfigured look,
While praying, turn'd the sun to shade,
And forms, too pure for human sight,
Grew visible amidst that light.
"O Father! save me from this hour,
Yet for this hour to earth I came,"
He pray'd in weakness; then, with power
Cried, "Father! glorify Thy name;"
--"I have," a voice from heaven replied,
"And still it shall be glorified."
For Peter, bold in speech and brave
In act, yet in temptation frail,
(As once he proved when on the wave),
Christ pray'd lest his weak faith should fail;
And when by Satan's snare enthrall'd,
His eye the wanderer recall'd.
Amidst His mournful family,
Who soon must see His face no more,
With what divine discourse did He
Strength to their fainting souls restore!
Then pray'd for all His people,--where
Have words recorded such a prayer?
Next, with strong cries and bitter tears,
Thrice hallow'd He that doleful ground,
Where, trembling with mysterious fears,
His sweat, like blood-drops, fell around,
And, being in an agony,
He prayed yet more earnestly.
Here oft in spirit let me, kneel,
Share in the speechless griefs I see,
And, while He felt what I should feel,
Feel all His power of love to me,
Break my hard heart, and grace supply
For Him, who died for me, to die.
Stretch'd on the ignominious tree,
For those, whose hands had nail'd Him there,
Who stood and mock'd His misery,
He offer'd up his latest prayer;
Then with the voice of victory cried,
"Tis finish'd!" bow'd His head, and died.
There all His prayers were answer'd;--all
The fruits of His soul's travail gain'd;
The cup of wormwood and of gall,
Down to the dregs His lips had drain'd;
Accomplish'd was the Eternal plan,
He tasted death for every man.
Now by the throne of God He stands,
Aloft the golden censer bears,
And offers, with high priestly hands,
Pure incense with his people's prayers;
Well pleased the Father eyes, the Son,
And says to each request, "Tis done."
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 >
High Priest for sinners, Jesus, Lord. J. Montgomery. [Our Saviour's Prayers.] This poem appeared in his Original Hymns, 1853, p. 75, with a preamble of 6 lines, followed by pt. i. in 6 stanzas of 6 lines, and pt. ii. of 7 stanzas of 6 lines. It is a metrical setting of a running account of the prayers offered by our Blessed Lord as recorded in the Gospels. A cento beginning with stanza it of pt. i.: "Early Christ rose, ere dawn of day"; and a second, "O Father! save me from this hour" (pt. i. stanza vi.), were given in the Scottish Evangelical Union Hymnal, 1878.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)