Behold what witnesses unseen
encompass us around;
Men, once like us, with suff'ring tried,
but now with glory crowned.
Let us, with zeal like theirs inspired,
begin the Christian race,
And, freed from each encumb'ring weight,
their holy footsteps trace.
Behold a witness nobler still,
who trod affliction's path,
Jesus, at once the finisher
and author of our faith.
He for the joy before him set,
so gen'rous was his love,
Endured the cross, despised the shame,
and now he reigns above.
If he the scorn of wicked men
with patience did sustain,
Becomes it those for whom he died
to murmur or complain?
Have ye like him to blood, to death,
the cause of truth maintained?
And is your heav'nly Father's voice
forgotten or disdained?
My son, saith he, with patient mind
endure the chast'ning rod;
Believe, when by afflictions tried,
that thou art loved by God.
His children thus most dear to him
their heav'nly Father trains,
Through all the hard experience led
of sorrows and of pains.
We know he owns us for his sons,
when we correction share;
Nor wander as a bastard race,
without our Father's care.
A father's voice with rev'rence we
on earth have often heard;
The Father of our spirits now
demands the same regard.
Parents may err; but he is wise,
nor lifts the rod in vain
His chast'nings serve to cure the soul
by salutary pain.
Affliction, when it spreads around,
may seem a field of woe;
Yet there, at last, the happy fruits
of righteousness shall grow.
Then let our hearts no more despond,
our hands be weak no more;
Still let us trust our Father's love,
his wisdom still adore.