Children’s Hymn for Good Friday

From John Julians ‘Dictionary of Hymnology’

Ann Gilbert, née Taylor. [Good Friday.] From Hymns for Infant Minds, 1810, No. 25, in 6 stanzas of 6 lines, and entitled “Jesus Christ came into the world to gave sinners” (ed. 1886, p. 63). This hymn is quoted in her Memorials, 1874, as an example of beautiful simplicity and accuracy (vol. i. p. 224). It has attained to a good position amongst hymns of established worth, is in extensive use, and is one of the most popular of Mrs. Gilbert’s compositions.

Lo, at noon ’tis sudden night!
Darkness covers all the sky!
Rocks are rending at the sight!
Children, can you tell me why?
What can all these wonders be?
Jesus dies on Calvary!

Nail’d upon the cross, behold
How his tender limbs are torn!
For a royal crown of gold
They have made him one of thorn.
Cruel hands that dare to bind
Thorns upon a brow so kind!

See! the blood is falling fast
From his forehead and his side!
Hark! he now has breath’d his last!
With a mighty groan he died!
Children, shall I tell you why
Jesus condescends to die?

He who was a king above,
Left his kingdom for a grave,
Out of pity and of love,
That the guilty he might save!
Down to this sad world he flew,
For such little ones as you!

You were wretched, weak, and vile
You deserved his holy frown;
But he saw you with a smile,
And to save you hasten’d down,
Little children; this is why
Jesus condescends to die.

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