Jesus, while he dwelt below,
As divine historians say,
To a place would often go,
Near to Kedron’s brook that lay:
In this place he loved to be,
And ’twas named Gethsemane.
’Twas a garden, as we read,
At the foot of Olivet,
Low and proper to be made
The Redeemer’s lone retreat:
When from noise he would be free,
Then he sought Gethsemane.
Thither, by their Master brought,
His disciples likewise came;
There the heavenly truths he taught
Often set their hearts on flame:
Therefore they, as well as he,
Oft conversing here they sat;
Or might join with Christ in prayer;
O, what blest devotion that,
When the Lord himself is there!
All things there did so agree
To endear Gethsemane.
Full of love to man’s lost race,
On the conflict much he thought;
This he knew the destined place,
And he loved the sacred spot:
Therefore Jesus chose to be
Often in Gethsemane.
Jesus, while He dwelt below. J. Hart [Passiontide.] A descriptive hymn of great power on The Passion of Our Lord. It was published in Hart's Hymns, &c, 1759, No. 75, in 23 stanzas of 6 lines, and headed "Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with His disciples," John xviii. 2. The following centos have been compiled therefrom:—
1. “Jesus, whilst He dwelt below." Pt. i.
“Full of love to man's lost race." Pt. ii.
"There my God bore all my guilt." Pt. iii.
These centos were given in Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory, 1872, No. 230.
2. "Jesus, while He dwelt below." Pt. i.
"Eden from each flowery bed." Pt. ii.
These were given in the Scottish Evangelical Union Hymnal, 1878, No. 34, and others.
3. "Comes once more the awful night."
In the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Church Hymns, 1871, this is very much altered from the original.
4. “Comes again the dreadful night."
In Whiting's Hymns for the Church Catholic, 1882. Also altered from Hart.
Through these various centos great use is made of this hymn.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)