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Updated 05/30/2013

 

Here, Oh My Lord, I See Thee

The lyrics to "Here, Oh My Lord, I See The" were penned by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) born in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The son of James Bonar, Solicitor of Exise for Scotland, he was educated in Edinburgh. He comes from a long line of ministers who have served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland. He had married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents.

In 1853 Bonar earned the Doctor of Divinity degree at the University of Aberdeen.  He entered the Ministry of the Church of Scotland. At first he was put in charge of mission work at St. John's parish in Leith and settled at Kelso. He joined the Free Church at the time of the Disruption of 1843, and in 1867 was moved to Edinburgh to take over the Chalmers Memorial Church (named after his teacher at college, Dr. Thomas Chalmers). In 1883, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Bonar has been called “the prince of Scot­tish hymn write­rs.” After grad­u­at­ing from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ed­in­burgh, he was or­dained in 1838, and be­came pas­tor of the North Par­ish, Kelso. He joined the Free Church of Scot­land af­ter the “Dis­rupt­ion” of 1843, and for a while edit­ed the church’s The Border Watch. Bonar re­mained in Kel­so for 28 years, af­ter which he moved to the Chal­mers Me­mor­i­al church in Edin­burgh, where he served the rest of his life.


Horatius Bonar

Bonar wrote more than 600 hymns. At a me­mor­i­al service fol­low­ing his death, his friend, Rev. E. H. Lundie, said:

"His hymns were writ­ten in very var­ied cir­cum­stances, some­times timed by the tink­ling brook that bab­bled near him; some­times at­tuned to the or­dered tramp of the ocean, whose crest­ed waves broke on the beach by which he wan­dered; some­times set to the rude mu­sic of the rail­way train that hur­ried him to the scene of du­ty; some­times mea­sured by the si­lent rhy­thm of the mid­night stars that shone above him."

The lyrics are set to the tune, Penitentia, by Edward Dearle (1806-1891).  Dearle was a chor­is­ter at King’s Coll­ege, Trin­i­ty, and St. John’s Coll­ege, Cam­bridge. He at­tend­ed Cam­bridge (MusD 1842), served as or­gan­ist at St. Paul’s, Dept­ford, and New­ark-upon-Trent (1835-64), and wrote a large bo­dy of re­li­gious mu­sic.


Lyrics by Horatius Bonar

  Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen;
Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon Thee lean.

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
This is the heavenly table spread for me;
Here let me feast, and feasting, still prolong
The hallowed hour of fellowship with Thee.

Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with Thee the royal wine of Heaven;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

I have no help but Thine; nor do I need
Another arm save Thine to lean upon;
It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in Thy might, Thy might alone.
I have no wisdom save in Him Who is
My Wisdom and my Teacher both in One;
No wisdom can I lack while Thou art wise;
No teaching do I crave save Thine alone.

Mine is the sin, but Thine the righteousness:
Mine is the guilt, but Thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace;
Thy Blood, Thy righteousness, O Lord my God!

Too soon we rise; the symbols disappear;
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone.
The bread and wine remove; but Thou art here,
Nearer than ever, still my Shield and Sun.

Feast after feast thus comes and passes by;
Yet, passing, points to the glad feast above,
Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,
The Lamb’s great bridal feast of bliss and love.