1 If the Lord our leader be,
We may follow without fear;
East or west, by land or sea,
Home, with Him, is everywhere:
When from Esau Jacob fled,
Tho’ his pillow was a stone,
And the ground his humble bed,
Yet he was not left alone.
2 Kings are often waking kept,
Racked with cares on beds of state;
Never king like Jacob slept,
For he lay at Heaven’s gate:
Lo! he saw a ladder reared,
Reaching to the heav’nly throne;
At the top the Lord appeared,
Spoke and claimed him for His own.
3 Fear not, Jacob, thou art Mine,
And My presence with thee goes;
On thy heart My love shall shine,
And My arm subdue thy foes:
From My promise comfort take,
For My help in trouble call;
Never will I thee forsake,
’Till I have accomplished all.
4 Well does Jacob’s ladder suit
To the Gospel throne of grace;
We are at the ladder’s foot,
Every hour, in every place:
By assuming flesh and blood,
Jesus Heav’n and earth unites;
We by faith ascend to God,
God to dwell with us delights.
5 They who know the Savior’s name,
Are for all events prepared;
What can changes do to them,
Who have such a guide and guard?
Should they traverse earth around,
To the ladder still they come;
Every spot is holy ground,
God is there—and He’s their home,
John Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. His licentious and tumultuous sailing life included a flogging for attempted desertion from the Royal Navy and captivity by a slave trader in West Africa. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. Several factors contributed to Newton's conversion: a near-drowning in 1748, the piety of his friend Mary Catlett, (whom he married in 1750), and his reading of Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. After becoming a tide… Go to person page >
If the Lord [my] our Leader be. J. Newton. [Jacob's Ladder.] Josiah Bull, in his John Newton of Olney and St. Mary Woolnoth, 1868, says, under date of June, 1774:—
"Writing about this time to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Cunningham, who had removed to Scotland, he sends her a copy of his hymn, entitled ‘Jacob's Ladder,' saying, ‘Your removal led my thoughts to the subject of the following hymn, and therefore you ought to have a copy.'" (2nd ed. p. 202.)
In 1779, the hymn was given in the Olney Hymns, Bk. i., No. 9, in 5 stanzas of 8 lines, with the title “Jacob's Ladder." It is found in a few modern collections in America.
George J. Elvey (PHH 48) composed ST. GEORGE'S WINDSOR as a setting for James Montgomery's text "Hark! The Song of Jubilee," with which it was published in Edward H. Thorne's Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1858). The tune has been associated with Alford's text since publication of the hymn in th…