1 *Faith of the martyrs, living still
in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of the martyrs, holy faith,
we will be true to thee till death.
2 The martyrs chained in prison cells
were still in heart and conscience free,
and bless’d would be their children’s fate
if they, like them, should die for thee! [Refrain]
3 Faith of the martyrs, we will love
both friend and foe in all our strife,
and preach thee, too, as love knows how,
by saving word and faithful life! [Refrain]
*Alternate phrases: “Faith of our fathers” or “Faith of our mothers”
Source: Voices Together #575
|First Line:||Faith of our fathers, living still|
|Author:||Frederick William Faber (1849)|
Faith of our fathers! living still. F. W. Faber. [A Pledge of Faithfulness.] This hymn appeared as the first of two hymns, one “Faith of our Fathers," for England; and the second the same for Ireland, in his Jesus and Mary; or, Catholic Hymns for Singing and Reading, 1849, in 4 stanzas of 6 lines. It was repeated in his Oratory Hymns, and several Roman Catholic collections for missions and schools. Its use illustrates most forcibly how in hymnody, as in other things, "extremes meet." In the original stanza iii., lines 1, 2, read:—
"Faith of our Fathers! Mary's prayers
Shall win our country back to thee."
In 1853 Drs. Hedge & Huntington altered these lines to:—
"Faith of our Fathers! Good men's prayers
Shall win our country all to thee."
for their Unitarian Hymns for the Church of Christ, No. 455. With this alteration it has passed into several Nonconformist collections in Great Britain and America. With the alteration of these few words the hymn is regularly sung by Unitarians on the one hand, and by Roman Catholics on the other, as a metrical embodiment of their history and aspirations.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)