The Man of Sorrows

J. N. Darby [1867]

O ever homeless Stranger,
Thus, dearest Friend to me;
An outcast in a manger,
That Thou might'st with us be!

How rightly rose the praises
Of heaven that wondrous night,
When shepherds hid their faces
In brightest angel-light!

More just those acclamations,
Than when the glorious band
Chanted earth's deep foundations,
Just laid by God's right hand.

Come now and view that manger–
The Lord of glory see,
A houseless, homeless Stranger
In this poor world for thee–

To God, in the highest, glory,
And peace on earth to find;
And learn that wondrous story,
Good pleasure in mankind.

How bless'd those heavenly spirits,
Who joy increasing find,
That spite of our demerits
God's pleasure's in mankind;

And chant the highest glory
Of Him they praise above,
In telling out the story
Of God come down in love!

Oh, strange yet fit beginning
Of all that life of woe,
In which Thy grace was winning
Poor man his God to know!

Bless'd Babe! who lowly liest
In manger-cradle there;
Descended from the highest,
Our sorrows all to share.

Oh, suited now in nature
For Love's divinest ways,
To make the fallen creature
The vessel of Thy praise!

O Love, all thought surpassing!
That Thou should'st with us be,
Nor yet in triumph passing,
But human infancy!

We cling to Thee in weakness–
The manger and the cross;
We gaze upon Thy meekness,
Through suffering, pain, and loss;

There see the Godhead glory
Shine through that human veil,
And, willing, hear the story
Of Love that's come to heal.

My soul in secret follows
The footsteps of His love;
I trace the Man of sorrows,
His boundless grace to prove.

A child in growth and stature,
Yet full of wisdom rare;
Sonship, in conscious nature,
His words and ways declare.

Yet still in meek submission
His patient path He trod,
To wait His heavenly mission,
Unknown to all but God.

But who, Thy path of service,
Thy steps removed from ill,
Thy patient love to serve us,
With human tongue can tell?

Midst sin and all corruption,
Where hatred did abound,
Thy path of true perfection
Was light on all around.

In scorn, neglect, reviling,
Thy patient grace stood fast;
Man's malice unavailing
To move Thy heart to haste.

O'er all, Thy perfect goodness
Rose blessedly divine;
Poor hearts oppressed with sadness
Found ever rest in Thine.

The strong man in his armour
Thou mettest in Thy grace,
Did'st spoil the mighty charmer
Of our unhappy race.

The chains of man, his victim,
Were loosened by Thy hand;
No evils that afflict him
Before Thy power could stand.

Disease, and death, and demon,
All fled before Thy word,
As darkness the dominion
Of day's returning lord!

The love that bore our burden
On the accursed tree,
Would give the heart its pardon,
And set the sinner free!

Love, that made Thee a mourner
In this sad world of woe,
Made wretched man a scorner
Of grace–that brought Thee low.

Still in Thee love's sweet savour
Shone forth in every deed,
And showed God's loving favour
To every soul in need.

I pause:–for in Thy vision
The day is hastening now,
When for our lost condition
Thy holy head shall bow;

When, deep to deep still calling,
The waters reach Thy soul,
And–death and wrath appalling–
Their waves shall o'er Thee roll.

O day of mightiest sorrow,
Day of unfathomed grief!
When Thou should'st taste the horror
Of wrath without relief.

O day of man's dishonour!
When, for Thy love supreme,
He sought to mar Thine honour,
Thy glory turn to shame.

O day of our confusion!
When Satan's darkness lay,
In hatred and delusion,
On ruined nature's way.

Thou soughtest for compassion–
Some heart Thy grief to know,
To watch Thine hour of passion–
For comforters in woe.

No eye was found to pity,
No heart to bear Thy woe;
But shame, and scorn, and spitting–
None cared Thy name to know.

The pride of careless greatness
Could wash its hands of Thee;
Priests that should plead for weakness,
Must Thine accusers be!

Man's boasting love disowns Thee;
Thine own Thy danger flee;
A Judas only owns Thee
That Thou may'st captive be.

O man! How hast thou proved
What in thy heart is found;
By grace divine unmoved,
By self in fetters bound.

Yet with all grief acquainted,
The Man of sorrows view,
Unmoved–by ill untainted–
The path of grace pursue.

In death, obedience yielding
To God His Father's will,
Love still its power is wielding
To meet all human ill.

On him who had disowned Thee
Thine eye could look in love–
'Midst threats and taunts around Thee–
To tears of grace to move.

What words of love and mercy
Flow from those lips of grace,
For followers that desert Thee,
For sinners in disgrace!

The robber learned beside Thee,
Upon the cross of shame–
While taunts and jeers deride Thee–
The savour of Thy name.

Then, finished all, in meekness
Thou to Thy Father's hand
(Perfect Thy strength in weakness)
Thy spirit dost commend.

O Lord! Thy wondrous story
My inmost soul doth move;
I ponder o'er Thy glory–
Thy lonely path of love!

But, O divine Sojourner
'Midst man's unfathomed ill,
Love, that made Thee a mourner,
It is not man's to tell!

We worship, when we see Thee
In all Thy sorrowing path;
We long soon to be with Thee
Who bore for us the wrath.

Come then, expected Saviour;
Thou Man of sorrows, come!
Almighty, blest Deliverer!
And take us to Thee–home.

From Spiritual Songs, by J. N. Darby.

The Man of Sorrows