In the Hour of Trial

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1 In the hour of trial,
Jesus, plead for me
Lest by base denial
I unworthy be.
When you see me waver,
With a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor
Ever let me fall.

2 With forbidden pleasures
Should this vain world charm
Or its tempting treasures
Spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance
Sad Gethsemane
Or, in darker semblance,
Cross-crowned Calvary.

3 Should your mercy send me
Sorrow, toil, and woe,
Or should pain attend me
On my path below,
Grant that I may never
Fail your cross to view;
Grant that I may ever
Cast my care on you.

4 When my life is ending,
Though in grief or pain,
When my body changes
Back to dust again,
On your truth relying,
Through that mortal strife,
Jesus, take me, dying,
To eternal life.

Source: Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #116

Author: James Montgomery

Montgomery, James, son of John Montgomery, a Moravian minister, was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Nov. 4, 1771. In 1776 he removed with his parents to the Moravian Settlement at Gracehill, near Ballymena, county of Antrim. Two years after he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary, Yorkshire. He left Fulneck in 1787, and entered a retail shop at Mirfield, near Wakefield. Soon tiring of that he entered upon a similar situation at Wath, near Rotherham, only to find it quite as unsuitable to his taste as the former. A journey to London, with the hope of finding a publisher for his youthful poems ended in failure; and in 1792 he was glad to leave Wath for Shefield to join Mr. Gales, an auctioneer, bookseller, and printer of the Sheffield Register newspap… Go to person page >


In the hour of trial. J. Montgomery. [In Trial and Temptation.] Montgomery's original manuscript of this hymn is dated "October 13, 1834;" and on it the names of twenty-two persons are written to whom he sent manuscript copies, together with the dates on which they were sent [M. MSS.]. The text is the same as that given in Montgomery's Original Hymns, 1853, No. 193, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines, with the exception of stanza iii., line 4, which reads, "O'er the sacrifice." Four forms of the text (besides minor alterations, are in common use:--
1. The authorized text of 1853. This was given in Mercer's Church Psalms & Hymn Book, 1854, and has become exceedingly popular in Great Britain and America. This text is that given in the Hymnal Companion with stanza i., line 2, Jesu for "Jesus," and Bp. Bickersteth's note (in 1876) on his text: "This hymn, by J. Montgomery (1825) is given, as varied by F. A. Hutton (1861)," is in error both with regard to date and text.
2. An altered text by Mrs. Frances A. Hutton, given in Prebendary H. W. Hutton's (Lincoln) Supplement and Litanies, n.d. This text is easily recognised by comparing the concluding stanza with that by Montgomery:—

"When, in dust and ashes,
To the grave I sink,
While heaven's glory flashes
O'er the shelving brink,
On Thy truth relying,
Through that mortal strife,
Lord, receive me, dying, To eternal life."

Mrs. Button.
“When my last hour cometh, [and pain];
Fraught with strife
When my dust returneth
To the dust again;
On Thy truth relying
Through that mortal strife.
Jesus, take me, dying,
To eternal life."

3. The text as in Thring's Collection, 1882, which is Mrs. Hutton's text slightly altered.
4. The text in Church Hymns, 1871. The alterations in stanzas iii., iv., are by the editors. This text may be easily recognised in any other collection by stanza iv., lines 1, 2:—

”When my lamp low burning
Sinks in death's last pain," &c.

The opening lines of this hymn have been the subject of much controversy, it being held by many that the petition,

"In the hour of trial,
Jesus, pray for me,"

is unscriptural. That Montgomery himself was not one time quite satisfied with the petition is evident from the fact that a copy of the hymn in his handwriting, dated "Sheffield, Apl. 25, 1835," (Wincobank Hall Manuscript) reads:

"In the hour of trial,
Jesus, stand by me."

The outcome of this difficulty is found in the following readings of this line:—
1. Jesus, pray for me. Original manuscript.
2. Jesus, stand by me. Wincobank Hall manuscript.
3. Jesus, pray for me. Montgomery, 0riginal Hymns, 1853.
4. Jesus, help Thou me. Mrs. Hutton.
5. Jesu, plead for me. Thring's Collection.
When these various forms of the text are taken into account, it is found that this hymn ranks in popularity with the best of Montgomery's productions.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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The Book of Common Praise: being the hymn book of The Church of England in Canada (revised 1938) #578a
The Cyber Hymnal #3012
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Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #66
Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #116TextPage Scan
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Small Church Music #1820Audio
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Include 400 pre-1979 instances