They whose course on earth is o'er

They whose course on earth is o'er

Author: J. M. Neale
Published in 17 hymnals

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Representative Text

1 THEY whose course on earth is o’er,
Think they of their brethren more?
They before the throne who bow,
Feel they for their brethren now?

2 We by enemies distrest,
They in paradise at rest;
We the captives, they the freed;
We and they are one indeed:

3 One in all we seek or shun,
One, because our Lord is one;
One in home and one in love;
We below, and they above.

4 They whom space on earth divides,
Mountains, rivers, ocean-tides;
Have they with each other part?
Have they fellowship in heart?

5 Each to each may be unknown,
Wide apart their lots be thrown;
Yet in sacrament and prayer
Each with other hath a share.

6 Saints departed, even thus
Hold communion still with us;
Still with us, beyond the veil,
Praising, pleading without fail.

7 So with them our hearts we raise,
Share their work and join their praise,
Rendering worship, thanks and love
To the Trinity above.

Source: The New English Hymnal #462

Author: J. M. Neale

John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… Go to person page >


They whose course on earth is o'er. J. M. Neale. [Communion of Saints.] First published in his Hymns for the Young, 1844, No. xv., in 9 stanzas of 4 lines, and based on the article of the Creed "The Communion of Saints." In 1866, Dr. Neale revised the text on his death-bed, and made alterations in stanzas iv., v. and ix. This text was published in his posthumous Original Sequences, Hymns, and other Ecclesiastical Verses, 1866, p. 64, and given there for All Souls at Vespers. The same text was repeated in the People's Hymnal, 1867; and, with the omission of stanzas ii., in the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Church Hymns, 1871.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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The New English Hymnal #462

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