Lyrics: Henry Francis Lyte
Music: HYFRYDOL by Rowland Prichard. Or since the meter is 18.104.22.168D(ouble), it can be sung to any number of alternate tunes.
Here’s a modern setting by Bill Moore, sung by a group called Resolved Worship.
Theme: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Hannah: ” . . . a heavy commitment into a joyous sacrifice.”
1. Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still my own.
2. Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me, God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, show Thy face and all is bright.
3. Man may trouble and distress me, ’twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me; heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me while Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.
4. Go, then, earthly fame and treasure, come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure; with Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee Abba Father; I have stayed my heart on Thee.
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather; all must work for good to me.
5. Soul, then know thy full salvation; rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station, something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee, think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee, child of heaven, canst thou repine.
6. Haste thee on from grace to glory, armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee, God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, soon shall pass thy pilgrim days.
Hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
Mr. Lyte wrote at least two more well known hymns, but this one reads to me the most “evangelical” of the three, with its emphasis on the cross and self-sacrifice. He was an Anglican clergyman, suffered most of his life from asthma and tuberculosis, and died while trying to convalesce in NIce, France at the age of 54.
The faith expressed in the lyrics is especially poignant when one reads that Lyte was deserted by his father at the age of ten and that his mother died not too long afterwards. The headmaster of his school, a Dr. Burrowes, paid his school fees and effectively adopted the young boy, having him spend holidays with the Burrowes family.