Behold What Witnesses Unseen

Representative Text

1 Behold what witnesses unseen
encompass us around,
who, once like us, with suffering tried,
but now with glory crowned.

2 Let us, with zeal like theirs inspired,
begin the Christian race,
and, freed from each encumbering weight,
their holy footsteps trace.

3 Behold a witness nobler still,
who trod affliction's path,
Jesus, at once the finisher
and author of our faith.

4 He for the joy before him set,
so generous was his love,
endured the cross, despised the shame,
and now he reigns above.

5 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.

Source: Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #743

Text Information

First Line: Behold what witnesses unseen
Title: Behold What Witnesses Unseen
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Behold what witnesses unseen. [Cross and Consolation.] First appeared as No. 12 in the Draft Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1745, as a version of Hebrews xii. 1-13, in 12 stanzas of 4 lines. The author is unknown. In the revised edition, issued in 1751, a new stanza was added as iii., and slight alterations were made in other stanzas. In the Draft of 1781, the 1751 was repeated with various alterations, as No. 59; and with further alterations of 16 lines, in the public worship edition issued in that year by the Church of Scotland, and still in use. In the markings by the eldest daughter of W. Cameron (q.v.), the alterations of 1781 are ascribed to Logan and Cameron. The text of 1781 has passed, in abridged forms, into a few modern hymnals, as Maurice's Choral Hymn Book, 1861, No. 209, omitting stanza ix.; and the English Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns, 1867; and Church Praise, 1883, reduced to 6 stanzas. In the American Prayer Book Collection, 1826, No. 212 (edition 1871, No. 183), and others it began, "Lo! what a cloud of witnesses;" while in Rorison's Hymns adapted to the Church Services, I860, it is, "A witness-host, by us unseen." In Anderson's Collection, Edinburgh, 1818, No. 359 begins with stanza vi. altered to, "Like Christ, have ye, to blood or death," and No. 360, with stanza x., "A father's voice, with reverence, we." It is included, considerably altered, as No. 85 in Miss Leeson's Paraphrases & Hymns, 1853, in three parts, pt. ii. beginning, "Lo! for the joy before Him set," and pt. iii., "Through all the hard experience led." [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)




DUNDEE (Ravenscroft)

DUNDEE first appeared in the 1615 edition of the Scottish Psalter published in Edinburgh by Andro Hart. Called a "French" tune (thus it also goes by the name of FRENCH), DUNDEE was one of that hymnal's twelve "common tunes"; that is, it was not associated with a specific psalm. In the Psalter Hymnal…

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Instances (1 - 16 of 16)
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Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #743

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Hymns for Social Worship #264

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Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #743

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 4th ed. #d20

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Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Original and Selected. (7th ed.) #S176

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Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs #S88

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Sacred Poetry #378


Scottish Psalter and Paraphrases #R59

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The Baptist Psalmody #647

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The Irish Presbyterian Hymnbook #R59a

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The Irish Presbyterian Hymnbook #R59b

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The Presbyterian Book of Praise #303

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The Presbyterian Book of Praise #303

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The Virginia Selection of Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs #439

Exclude 12 pre-1979 instances
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