O Sinner, Lift the Eye of Faith

Full Text

1. O sinner, lift the eye of faith,
To true repentance turning;
Bethink thee of the curse of sin,
Its awful guilt discerning;
Upon the Crucified One look,
And thou shalt read, as in a book,
What well is worthy thy learning.

2. Look on His head, that bleeding head,
With crown of thorns surrounded;
Look on His sacred hands and feet
Which piercing nails have wounded;
See every limb with scourges rent:
On Him, the Just, the Innocent,
What malice hath abounded!

3. ’Tis not alone those limbs are racked,
But friends, too, are forsaking;
And, more than all, for thankless man
That tender heart is aching;
Oh, fearful was the pain and scorn,
By Jesus, Son of Mary, borne,
Their peace for sinners making.

4. None ever knew such pain before,
Such infinite affliction,
None ever felt a grief like His
In that dread crucifixion;
For us He bare those bitter throes,
For us those agonizing woes,
In oft renewed infliction.

5. O sinner, mark, and ponder well
Sin’s awful condemnation;
Think what a sacrifice it cost
To purchase Thy salvation;
Had Jesus never bled and died,
Then what could thee and all betide
But uttermost damnation?

6. Lord, give us grace to flee from sin,
And Satan’s wiles ensnaring,
And from those everlasting flames
For evil ones preparing.
Jesu, we thank Thee, and entreat
To rest forever at Thy feet,
Thy heavenly glory sharing.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #5328

Translator: J. M. Neale

Neale, John Mason, D.D., was born in Conduit Street, London, on Jan. 24, 1818. He inherited intellectual power on both sides: his father, the Rev. Cornelius Neale, having been Senior Wrangler, Second Chancellor's Medallist, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and his mother being the daughter of John Mason Good, a man of considerable learning. Both father and mother are said to have been "very pronounced Evangelicals." The father died in 1823, and the boy's early training was entirely under the direction of his mother, his deep attachment for whom is shown by the fact that, not long before his death, he wrote of her as "a mother to whom I owe more than I can express." He was educated at Sherborne Grammar School, and was afterwards… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O sinner, lift the eye of faith
Title: O Sinner, Lift the Eye of Faith
Latin Title: Attolle paulum lumina
Translator: J. M. Neale
Language: English


Attolle paullum lumina. [Passiontide.] The text of this hymn is in Daniel ii. p. 345; Simrock, p. 110; the Corolla Hymnorum, Cologne, 1806, p. 17, and is of unknown authorship and date. Bäumker, i. p. 495, cites it as in the Sirenes Symphoniacae, 1678. Dr. Neale dates it, in common with “Exite, Sion filiae, Videte, &c," as being:—

"Clearly of the very latest date: certainly not earlier than the sixteenth, it may be the beginning of the seventeenth, century. Their intensely subjective character would be a sufficient proof of this: and their rhyme equally shows it. Feminine double rhymes, in almost all mediaeval hymns, are reserved for trochaic measures;—their use, as here, in iambics, gives a certain impression of irreverence which it is hard to get over. Notwithstanding the wide difference between these arid mediaeval hymns, they possess, I think, considerable beauty, and perhaps will be more easily appreciated by modem readers." Mediaeval Hymns, 3rd ed., 1867, p. 214.
[Rev. W. A. Shoults, B.D.]

Translations in common use:—
1. Raise, raise thine eye a little way. By J. M. Neale, appeared in the first edition of his Mediaeval Hymns, 1851, p. 148, in 7 stanzas of 7 lines, being the first translation of this hymn into English. It is somewhat altered in the Hymnary, 1872, No. 248.
2. 0 Sinner, lift the eye of faith, is the above translation, in an altered form, made by the Compilers of Hymns Ancient and Modern, and included in that collection in 1861. Concerning the alterations, Dr. Neale says in his 2nd ed. of the Med. Hymns, 1863, that "the alteration of the two trochaic into iambic lines" is "an improvement on the original metre." Although thus commended by Dr. Neale, the use of this form is almost exclusively confined to Hymns Anceint and Modern.
3. 0 Sinners, lift your eyes and see. By F. Pott, in his Hymns, &c, 1861, No. 189, in 6 stanzas.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The tune name ALLEIN GOTT derives from the opening words of Decius's rhymed text in High German. The tune was first published in Schumann's Geistliche Lieder. Decius adapted the tune from a tenth-century Easter chant for the Gloria text, beginning at the part accompanying the words "et in terra pax.…

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The Cyber Hymnal #5328
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