I left the God of truth and light

I left the God of truth and light

Author: James Montgomery
Tune: [My soul exults with praise and love]
Published in 34 hymnals

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Representative Text

I left the God of truth and light,
I left the God who gave me breath,
To wander in the wilds of night,
And perish in the snares of death.

Sweet was His service, and His yoke
Was light and easy to be borne;
Through all His bands of love I broke,
I cast away His gifts with scorn.

I danced in folly's giddy maze,
And drank the sea, and chased the wind;
But falsehood lurk'd in all her ways,
Her laughter left remorse behind.

I dream'd of bliss in pleasure's bowers,
While pillowing roses stayed my head;
But serpents hiss'd among the flowers;
I woke, and thorns were all my bed.

In riches, when I sought for joy,
And placed in sordid gain my trust,
I found that gold was all alloy,
And worldly treasure--fleeting dust.

I woo'd ambition, climb'd the pole,
And shone among the stars,--but fell,
Headlong in all my pride of soul,
Like Lucifer, from heaven to hell.

Heart-broken, friendless, poor, cast down,
Where shall the chief of sinners fly,
Almighty Vengeance! from thy frown--
Eternal Justice! from thine eye?

Lo, through the gloom of guilty fears,
My faith discerns a dawn of grace;
The Sun of Righteousness appears
In Jesus' reconciling face.

My suffering, slain, and risen Lord,
In sore distress I turn to Thee,
I claim acceptance on Thy word,
My God! my God! forsake not me.

Prostrate before the mercy seat,
I dare not, if I would, despair;
None ever perish'd at Thy feet,
And I will lie for ever there.

Sacred Poems and Hymns

Author: James Montgomery

James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: I left the God of truth and light
Author: James Montgomery
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


I left the God of truth and light. J. Montgomery. [Repentance.] In 1795, Montgomery commenced in his paper, the Sheffield Iris, a series of essays under the title of “The Whisperer, or Hints and Speculations, by Gabriel Silvertongue Gent." These essays, which were afterwards republished in a volume, abounded in the irreverent use of Holy Scripture The state of mind which prompted him thus to write continued, he says, " for the space of ten years." (Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 116.) On seeing clearly the wrong which he had done, he destroyed all the copies of the work which he could find, and penned this hymn, in 1807, in token of his true repentance. (Memoirs, vol. v. p. 364.) It was first published in the Evangelical Magazine, subsequently in Cotterill's Selection, 8th ed., 1819, No. 295; and then by Mont¬gomery as the first of his hymns in his Christian Psalmist, 1825. It is also in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 17 lines. In the Christian Psalmist, stanza ii., lines 3, reads: “Through all His bonds of love I broke." In all his other works we find "bands" for "bonds." In his marked copy of the Christian Psalmist, he has changed "bonds" to "bands" in the margin. This is the authorized reading. In the Hymns & Songs of Praise, N. Y., 1874, No. 479, "Heartbroken, friendless, poor, cast down," is composed of stanzas vii., viii. of this hymn.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #4135
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The Cyber Hymnal #4135

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