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The past is dark with sin and shame

Full Text

The Past is dark with sin and shame,
The Future dim with doubt and fear;
But, Father, yet we praise Thy name,
Whose guardian love is always near.

For man has striven, ages long,
With faltering steps to come to Thee,
And in each purpose high and strong
The influence of Thy grace could see.

He could not breathe an earnest prayer,
But Thou wast kinder than he dreamed,
As age by age brought hopes more fair,
And nearer still Thy kingdom seemed.

But never rose within his breast
A trust so calm and deep as now;—
Shall not the weary find a rest?
Father, Preserver, answer Thou!

’Tis dark around, ’tis dark above,
But through the shadow streams the sun;
We cannot doubt Thy certain love;
And Man’s true aim shall yet be won!

Source: A Book of Hymns for Public and Private Devotion (15th ed.) #187

Author: Thomas W. Higginson

Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, M.A., was born at Cambridge, U.S.A., Dec. 22, 1823, and educated at Harvard. From 1847 to 1850 he was Pastor of an Unitarian Church at Newburyport, and from 1852 to 1858 at Worcester. In 1858 he retired from the Ministry, and devoted himself to literature. During the Rebellion he was colonel of the first negro regiment raised in South Carolina. In addition to being for some time a leading contributor to the Atlantic Monthly, he published Outdoor Papers, 1863; Malbone, 1869; and other works. During his residence at the Harvard Divinity School he contributed the following hymns to Longfellow and Johnson's Book of Hymns, 1846:— 1. No human eyes Thy face may see. God known through love. 2. The land our fathe… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The past is dark with sin and shame
Author: Thomas W. Higginson



Henry Kemble Oliver (b. Beverly, MA, 1800; d. Salem, MA, 1885) composed FEDERAL STREET in 1832, possibly as an imitation of earlier psalm tunes in long meter. He took it to a music class taught by Lowell Mason (who may have contributed to the harmony); Mason (PHH 96) published it in his Boston Acade…

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William Knapp (b. Wareham, Dorsetshire, England, 1698; d. Poole, Dorsetshire, 1768) composed WAREHAM, so named for his birthplace. A glover by trade, Knapp served as the parish clerk at St. James's Church in Poole (1729-1768) and was organist in both Wareham and Poole. Known in his time as the "coun…

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Instances (1 - 30 of 30)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
A Book of Hymns for Public and Private Devotion (15th ed.) #187Text
A Book of Hymns for Public and Private Devotion. (10th ed.) #187Page Scan
Church Harmonies: a collection of hymns and tunes for the use of Congregations #893Page Scan
Hymn and Tune Book for the Church and the Home and Services for Congregational Worship. Rev. ed. #d688
Hymn and Tune Book for the Church and the Home. (Rev. ed.) #483Page Scan
Hymn and Tune Book, for the Church and the Home #461Page Scan
Hymns for Christian Devotion: especially adapted to the Universalist denomination #999Page Scan
Hymns for Christian Devotion: especially adapted to the Universalist denomination. (New ed.) #999Page Scan
Hymns for the Christian Church, for the Use of the First Church of Christ in Boston #235Page Scan
Hymns of Hope and Courage #d74
Hymns of the Church Universal #433Page Scan
Hymns of the Spirit #684Page Scan
Hymns of the Spirit for Use in the Free Churches of America #321a
Hymns of the Spirit for Use in the Free Churches of America #321b
Hymns of the United Church #d383
Hymns of the United Church #126Page Scan
Isles of Shoals Hymn Book and Candle Light Service #108Page Scan
National Hymn and Tune Book: for congregations, schools and the home #19Page Scan
Prayers and Hymns for the Church and the Home #d655
Sacred Songs For Public Worship: a hymn and tune book #22Page Scan
Services for Congregational Worship #380Page Scan
Singers and Songs of the Liberal Faith #509Page Scan
Social Hymns of Brotherhood and Aspiration #d88
The Chapel Service Book #d143
The Gospel Psalmist #265Page Scan
The New Hymn and Tune Book #d429
The Plymouth Hymnal #d515
The Students' Hymnal #137Page Scan
Unitarian Service Book, and Hymns for Church and Home. Abridged ed. #d417
University Hymn Book for use in the Chapel of Harvard University #d237