1 It first was unfurled upon Bethlehem’s plain,
Where shepherds their lone starry night watch were keeping;
And Judea’s hills echoed back the refrain,
While God’s chosen race all unconscious were sleeping,
As angelic bands lifted high in their hands
The standard which yet was to conquer all lands,
O say, does the blest Gospel banner yet wave
Over altars and homes, and the path to the grave?
2 Yes! from dark lonely watch towers it floated for years
When dim mists and black shadows enveloped the ages,
At first crimsoned with blood, and then darkened with tears,
With which martyrs recorded their names on earth’s pages,
Now hath vanished the night, and we hail the glad light,
Which illumines that banner, unfurled to our sight,
’Tis the blest Gospel banner, and long may it wave
Over altars and homes, and the path to the grave.
3 And thus be it ever with foes of the right,
Who hurl on our cause their fierce imprecations,
For God helps to triumph in His holy might,
The men who will serve Him through all generations;
And when dust to dust shall return, as it must,
We praise Him forever, who now is our trust:
And the blest Gospel banner its glory shall wave,
Over altars and homes, and the path to the grave!
Mrs. K. W. B. Barnes, was born in Deerfield, Mass in 1836. She was christened Maria Burbank Williams but was called by the name Kitty. She also used the pen name "Kate Cameron" In 1856 she married Dr. Norman S. Barnes. She was a writer of many stories, poems, and hymns.
From Waifs and their authors by A. A. Hopkins, 1879
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Display Title: The Blest Gospel BannerFirst Line: It first was unfurled upon Bethlehem’s plainTune Title: THE STAR SPANGLED BANNERAuthor: Maria B. W. BarnesSource: Bradbury's Golden Chain of Sabbath School Melodies by William B. Bradbury (New York: Ivison, Phinney & Company, 1861)