Friday, June 20, 2008

In the Hour of Trial

In the 18th chapter of John, we read of Jesus' trial before the high priest and before Pilate.  We also read about Peter's denial of the Lord.  The rooster is seen on the church steeples of some Episcopalian churches as a reminder for the parishioners of Peter's denial.  The hymn "In the Hour of Trial" was written by James Montgomery (1771-1854).  He faced a number of trials in his own life, even at a young age.  His parents were missionaries and they died when he was only twelve years old.  Soon afterward, he was asked to leave school for not turning in his assignments on time.  After working at a couple of bakeries, he left for London, where he thought he might be able to sell his poetry.  Instead, he got a job at the newspaper.   After the editor fled England to avoid persecution, Montgomery took that job when he was twenty-three years old.  After he commemorated the fall of the Bastille, he was fined, imprisoned, and labeled a "wicked, malicious and seditious person."  In time, James Montgomery was ultimately honored by the British government for his outspoken advocacy of humanitarian causes, especially the abolition of slavery.

1.  In the hour of trial,
       Jesus plead for me
    Lest by base denial
       I depart from Thee.
    When Thou see'st me waver,
       With a look recall
    Nor for fear or favor
       Suffer me to 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 Thy mercy send me
        Sorrow, toil, and woe,
     Or should pain attend me
        On my path below.
     Grant that I may never
        Fail Thy hand to see;
     Grant that I may ever
        Cast my care on Thee.

4.  When my last hour cometh,
        Fraught with strife and pain,
     When my dust returneth
        To the dust again,
     On Thy truth relying,
        Through that mortal strife,
     Jesus, take me, dying,
        To eternal life.

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