From Greenland's icy mountains

Before a Collection made for the Society for the propagation of the Gospel.




FROM Greenland's icy mountains,
From India's coral strand,
Where Afric's sunny fountains
Roll down their golden sand,
From many an ancient river,
From many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver
Their land from error's chain.

2 What though the spicy breezes
Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle;
Though every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile :
In vain with lavish kindness
The gifts of God are strown ;
The heathen in his blindness
Bows down to wood and stone.

3 Can we, whose souls are lighted
With wisdom from on high,
Can we to men benighted
The lamp of life deny ?
Salvation! O salvation !
The joyful sound proclaim,
Till each remotest nation
Has learned Messiah's Name.

4 Waft, waft, ye winds, His story,
And you, ye waters, roll,
Till like a sea of glory
It spreads from pole to pole;
Till o'er our ransomed nature
The Lamb for sinners slain,
Redeemer, King, Creator,
In bliss returns to reign.

Reginald Heber (born 1783) wrote this stirring hymn one Saturday in 1819 for a missionary service to be held next day at the church in Wrexham, England, of which his father-in-law was pastor. When he read it aloud, his father-in-law said, " There, that will do very well." And it has done very well ever since. Dr. Theodore Cuyler once said that Heber did more for the spread of the gospel by writing this hymn than if he had founded a Board of Missions. It is only one of many good hymns which Heber wrote. He was afterwards Bishop of Calcutta, where he did noble work for Christ until his death in 1826.

[NOTE.—Verse 3, line 4. The lamp of life. See Isaiah lxii, 1. Deny. See Romans x, 14.]