In the Hour of Trial

View this hymn using FlexPresent:'s free tool provides this hymn's music notationand lyrics synchronized with its audio

In the hour of trial

Author: James Montgomery (1834)
Tune: PENITENCE (Lane)
Published in 480 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Playable presentation: Lyrics only, lyrics + music
Audio files: MIDI, Recording

Song available on My.Hymnary

Representative Text

1 In the hour of trial,
Jesus, plead for me
lest by base denial
I unworthy be.
When you see me waver,
with a look recall,
nor for fear or favor
ever let me fall.

2 With forbidden pleasures
should this vain world charm
or its tempting treasures
spread to work me harm,
bring to my remembrance
sad Gethsemane
or, in darker semblance,
cross-crowned Calvary.

3 Should your mercy send me
sorrow, toil, and woe,
or should pain attend me
on my path below,
grant that I may never
fail your cross to view;
grant that I may ever
cast my care on you.

4 When my life is ending,
though in grief or pain,
when my body changes
back to dust again,
on your truth relying,
through that mortal strife,
Jesus, take me, dying,
to eternal life.

Source: Christian Worship: Hymnal #406

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 >


In the hour of trial. J. Montgomery. [In Trial and Temptation.] Montgomery's original manuscript of this hymn is dated "October 13, 1834;" and on it the names of twenty-two persons are written to whom he sent manuscript copies, together with the dates on which they were sent [M. MSS.]. The text is the same as that given in Montgomery's Original Hymns, 1853, No. 193, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines, with the exception of stanza iii., line 4, which reads, "O'er the sacrifice." Four forms of the text (besides minor alterations, are in common use:--
1. The authorized text of 1853. This was given in Mercer's Church Psalms & Hymn Book, 1854, and has become exceedingly popular in Great Britain and America. This text is that given in the Hymnal Companion with stanza i., line 2, Jesu for "Jesus," and Bp. Bickersteth's note (in 1876) on his text: "This hymn, by J. Montgomery (1825) is given, as varied by F. A. Hutton (1861)," is in error both with regard to date and text.
2. An altered text by Mrs. Frances A. Hutton, given in Prebendary H. W. Hutton's (Lincoln) Supplement and Litanies, n.d. This text is easily recognised by comparing the concluding stanza with that by Montgomery:—

"When, in dust and ashes,
To the grave I sink,
While heaven's glory flashes
O'er the shelving brink,
On Thy truth relying,
Through that mortal strife,
Lord, receive me, dying, To eternal life."

Mrs. Button.
“When my last hour cometh, [and pain];
Fraught with strife
When my dust returneth
To the dust again;
On Thy truth relying
Through that mortal strife.
Jesus, take me, dying,
To eternal life."

3. The text as in Thring's Collection, 1882, which is Mrs. Hutton's text slightly altered.
4. The text in Church Hymns, 1871. The alterations in stanzas iii., iv., are by the editors. This text may be easily recognised in any other collection by stanza iv., lines 1, 2:—

”When my lamp low burning
Sinks in death's last pain," &c.

The opening lines of this hymn have been the subject of much controversy, it being held by many that the petition,

"In the hour of trial,
Jesus, pray for me,"

is unscriptural. That Montgomery himself was not one time quite satisfied with the petition is evident from the fact that a copy of the hymn in his handwriting, dated "Sheffield, Apl. 25, 1835," (Wincobank Hall Manuscript) reads:

"In the hour of trial,
Jesus, stand by me."

The outcome of this difficulty is found in the following readings of this line:—
1. Jesus, pray for me. Original manuscript.
2. Jesus, stand by me. Wincobank Hall manuscript.
3. Jesus, pray for me. Montgomery, 0riginal Hymns, 1853.
4. Jesus, help Thou me. Mrs. Hutton.
5. Jesu, plead for me. Thring's Collection.
When these various forms of the text are taken into account, it is found that this hymn ranks in popularity with the best of Montgomery's productions.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



You have access to this FlexScore.
Are parts of this score outside of your desired range? Try transposing this FlexScore.
General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Contacting server...
Contacting server...
Questions? Check out the FAQ

A separate copy of this score must be purchased for each choir member. If this score will be projected or included in a bulletin, usage must be reported to a licensing agent (e.g. CCLI, OneLicense, etc).

This is a preview of your FlexScore.
The Book of Common Praise: being the hymn book of The Church of England in Canada (revised 1938) #578a
The Cyber Hymnal #3012
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 18 of 18)
TextPage Scan

African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #315

Ambassador Hymnal #66

TextPage Scan

Christian Worship (1993) #116

TextPage Scan

Christian Worship #406

Church Gospel Songs and Hymns #96

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #418

Great Songs of the Church (Revised) #538


Hymns of Faith #425

Hymns of the Christian Life #158

TextPage Scan

Lutheran Worship #511

Praise for the Lord (Expanded Edition) #328


Rejoice in the Lord #247

Sacred Selections for the Church #536

TextPage Scan

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #491

TextPage Scan

The A.M.E. Zion Hymnal #520


The Cyber Hymnal #3012

TextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #568

TextPage Scan

Worship and Service Hymnal #378

Include 462 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us