How shall I follow Him I serve

How shall I follow Him I serve?
How shall I copy Him I love?
Nor from those blessed footsteps swerve,
Which lead me to His seat above?
Privations, sorrows, bitter scorn,
The life of toil, the mean abode,
The faithless kiss, the crown of thorn—
Are these the consecrated road?
Lord, should my path through suff’ring lie,
Forbid it I should e’er repine;
Still let me turn to Calvary,
Nor heed my griefs, rememb’ring Thine.
O let me think how Thou didst leave
Untasted every pure delight,
To fast, to faint, to watch, to grieve,
The toilsome day, the homeless night:
To faint, to grieve, to die for me!
Thou camest, not Thyself to please;
And, dear as earthly comforts be,
Shall I not love Thee more than these?
Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

When Josiah Conder left school in 1802 at the age of 13, he didn't leave the world of books. His father was a bookseller in London, and young Conder joined his father's business. At 25 he became publisher of a magazine and later the editor of a newspaper. An evangelical, he frequently opposed the action of the established church, and faced determined opposition. He said his best hymns were written in times of trial or change.

When Conder lay dying at the age of 66, he asked to have his poems read. The last stanza of one of them, which he asked to have read 3 times, is

"Beset with fears and cares,

in Him my heart is strong.

All things in life and death are theirs,

who to the Lord belong."

One of his children said after the 3rd reading, "Now you can sleep on that." "Oh yes," responded Josiah, "and die upon it." - Great Songs of Faith by Brown & Norton


There are 2 additional stanzas in the original, which are usually omitted.

Original stanza 3 between 2 and 3 above:

’Twas thus He suffered, though a Son,

Foreknowing, choosing, feeling all,

Until the perfect work was done,

And drunk the bitter cup of gall.


The original last stanza, following the last stanza above:

Yes, I would count them all but loss,

To gain the notice of Thine eye:

Flesh shrinks and trembles at the cross,

But Thou canst give the victory.

The first stanza of the above hymn consists of a series of questions. The writer is speaking to himself. He is fellowshipping with his own heart. This musing results in his awareness of his straying away to outward things. The word still in stanza 3 is very good. In stanza 1 there is a yearning for consecration; in stanza 3 the prayer is that the consecration would not change. Consecration is not a once-for-all thing; it should be something continuous. The writer yearns for a continual consecration. The emphasis in this stanza is the word still. Stanza 4 is a reflection on the Lord's forsaking of "every pure delight." There are many delights which are not pure, but the delight that the Lord enjoyed was pure; no sin whatsoever was found in this delight. Immediately after this the word to is used four times. This is a very unusual hymn. In the first two lines of stanza 4, the Lord leaves something behind, while in the third and fourth line, He takes something up. Here we can feel that the Lord's Spirit has brought the writer to a new height. On the one side, there is the "pure delight." On the other side, there are the "toilsome day" and the "homeless night."

Stanza 4 describes the Lord's work, but this description is still somewhat objective. Stanza 5 brings a subjective tone to the hymn: "for me!" He came for me! The word to appears here three times, and they are somewhat different from the previous stanza. The Lord not only grieved and fainted for us, but died for us. The Lord's goal was to accomplish God's work of redemption for us; He did not come to please Himself. Although "earthly comforts" are hard to give up, the Lord's love enables us to overcome them. The hymn concludes with a question.

This song describes a person who was once very prosperous and successful in the world, but who forsook everything for the Lord. We can sense the height that his spirit has soared.