1. Round the sacred city gather
Egypt, Edom, Babylon;
All the warring hosts of error,
Sworn against her, move as one:
Vain the leaguer! her foundations
Are upon the holy hills,
And the love of the Eternal
All her stately temple fills.
2. Get thee, watchman, to the rampart!
Gird thee, warrior, with thy sword!
Be ye strong as ye remember
That amidst you is the Lord:
Like the night mists from the valley,
These shall vanish one by one,
Egypt’s malice, Edom’s envy,
And the hate of Babylon.
3. But be true, ye sons and daughters,
Lest the peril be within:
Watch to prayer, lest, while ye slumber,
Stealthy foemen enter in:
Safe the mother and the children,
In their will and love be strong,
While their loyal hearts go singing
Prayer and praise for battle song.
4. Church of God! if we forget thee
Let His blessings fail our hand,
When our love shall not prefer thee
Let His love forget our land—
Nay! to thee shall we be steadfast,
Though the world’s foundations shake,
Love of thee is love for ever,
Love of thee for Jesus’ sake.
5. Church of Christ! upon thy banner,
Lo, His passion’s awful sign;
By that seal of His redemption
Thou art His, and He is thine:
From the depth of His atonement
Flows thy sacramental tide:
From the height of His ascension
Flows the grace which is thy guide.
6. God the Spirit dwells within thee,
His society divine,
His the living Word thou keepest,
His thy apostolic line.
Ancient prayer and song liturgic,
Creeds that change not to the end,
As His gift we have received them,
As His charge we will defend.
7. Alleluia, alleluia,
To the Father, Spirit, Son,
In whose will the Church at warfare
With the Church at rest is one;
So to Thee we sing in union,
God in earth and Heav’n adored,
Holy, holy, holy Lord.
Stone, Samuel John, a clergyman of the Church of England, the son of Rev. William Stone, was born at Whitmore, Staffordshire, April 25, 1839. He was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he was graduated B.A. in 1862. Later he took orders and served various Churches. He succeeded his father at St. Paul's, Haggerstown, in 1874. He was the author of many original hymns and translations, which were collected and published in 1886. His hymns are hopeful in spirit and skillfully constructed. He published several poetic volumes. He died November 19, 1900
--Hymn Writers of the Church, 1915 (Charles Nutter)… Go to person page >
Round the Sacred City gather. S. J. Stone. [Church Defence.] Written in 1874 for the Church Defence Institution, and issued as a leaflet with music for use at Church Defence Meetings. Several hundreds of thou¬sands have been used in this form. It was given in the author's Knight of Intercession, 3rd edition, 1874, in 7 stanzas of 8 lines, with the heading “Battle Hymn of Church Defence," and "Dedicated to the 'Church Society' of St. Paul's Haggerston." In 1884 it was enlarged to 12 stanzas of 8 lines for processional use at a grand Choral Festival in Salisbury Cathedral, and began "Sacred city by the river." In this form it was given in the Monthly Packet, 1884. In its original form it is in several hymnals. Mr. Stone also adapted it for use in the 1889 Suppl. Hymns to Hymns Ancient & Modern.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)