From Greenland’s icy mountains

1
From Greenland’s icy mountains,
  From India’s coral strand,
Where Afric’s sunny fountains
  Roll down their golden sand;
From many an ancient river,
  From many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver
  Their land from error’s chain.
2
What though the spicy breezes
  Blow soft on Ceylon’s isle;
Though every prospect pleases,
  And only man is vile;
In vain with lavish kindness
  The gifts of God are strown;
The heathen, in his blindness,
  Bows down to wood and stone.
3
Can we, whose souls are lighted
  With wisdom from on high;
Can we to men benighted
  The lamp of life deny?
Salvation! O salvation!
  The joyful sound proclaim,
Till each remotest nation
  Has learned Messiah’s name.
4
Waft, waft, ye winds, His story;
  And you, ye waters, roll,
Till, like a sea of glory,
  It spreads from pole to pole;
Till o’er our ransomed nature,
  The Lamb for sinners slain,
Redeemer, King, Creator,
  In bliss returns to reign.
2
Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

In 1819 a royal letter was sent to all parishes of the Church of England authorizing a collection to be taken to aid "The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Lands." Reginald Heber's father-in-law had asked him to preach at his Sunday evening service. When the royal letter came, Heber was also asked to write a hymn that would be appropriate for the special collection. Heber went into a corner of the room for 20 minutes and then returned to show 3 stanzas to his father-in-law. Heber then insisted on writing a 4th stanza to give a more triumphant ending to the hymn.

When he wrote the hymn, Heber didn't know that India did not have coral strands, nor did he realize he would soon be appointed bishop of Calcutta, India, where he would later die. - Great Songs of Faith by Brown & Norton


Frank Pytel

Chicago, Illinois, United States

The writer of this hymn echoes the command of the resurrected Christ to "go to all the world, to all the nations." In a similar way, I have lately desired that the kingdom of the Father would come to all the earth from heaven. I used a book, sort of an atlas, that lists all the countries on earth. I pray five to ten minutes daily for each place around the globe that the kingdom would be there. Although I cannot go there physically, I can go to the Father and ask His kingdom would come to these places. One other thing that can be done, is to replace all the places from pole to pole in this hymn, with different street names in our neighborhoods. Pray street by street, then go and pass out tracts! Go with the One we know!