Behold the Savior of Mankind

Full Text

1 Behold the Savior of mankind
Nailed to the shameful tree!
How vast the love that Him inclined
To bleed and die for thee!

2 Hark how he groans while nature shakes,
And earth's strong pillars bend!
The Temple's veil in sunder breaks,
The solid marbles rend.

3 'Tis done; the precious ransom's paid;
"Receive my soul!" He cries.
See where He bows His sacred head;
He bows His head and dies!

4 But soon He'll break death's envious chain,
And in full glory shine.
O Lamb of God, was ever pain,
Was ever love, like Thine?


Source: The Lutheran Hymnal #176

Author: Samuel Wesley

Father of Samuel Wesley, John Wesley, and Charles Wesley. See also in: Hymn Writers of the Church… Go to person page >


Behold the Saviour of mankind. Samuel Wesley, sen. [Good Friday.] Written previous to the fire at his Rectory of Epworth, which was burnt down in 1709. At this fire John Wesley was saved from death by being rescued through the bedroom window by some of the parishioners. During the fire the manuscript of this hymn was blown into the Rectory garden, where it was subsequently found. It was first published in J. Wesley's Psalms & Hymns, Charlestown, South Carolina, 1736-7, p. 46; also in the Wesley Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines; and again in the Wesleyan Hymn Book in 1780, revised edition, 1875, No. 22. From that collection it has passed into various hymnals both in Great Britain and America. The original contains 6 stanzas of 4 lines. Stanzas ii. and v. are usually omitted.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)




MARTYRDOM was originally an eighteenth-century Scottish folk melody used for the ballad "Helen of Kirkconnel." Hugh Wilson (b. Fenwick, Ayrshire, Scotland, c. 1766; d. Duntocher, Scotland, 1824) adapted MARTYRDOM into a hymn tune in duple meter around 1800. A triple-meter version of the tune was fir…

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