From Greenland’s icy mountains

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.
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.
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.
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.
Jack Petrash

Irving, TX, United States

O Lord! May our love for You burn so deeply that we would speak You into the hearts of the lost, sinful men surrounding us wherever we are!

Ginsa Kinslow

Hagerstown, MD, United States

Jesus says pray to the Lord of the harvest for laborers, Frank Pytel and because I’m saved and sanctified the Bible way, I do pray, intercede, giving of thanks and supplications for all [men] to day: 2 June’23, Fri.

Happily and humbly, I submit, in Jesus’s name; bc, i’m not ashamed of the gospel, he’s my elder brother and his Father is my Father ~sisteregina k

Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

The text and tune in this hymn is an example of spiritual affinity. “What God has joined together let no man put asunder. ” The story of the melody is a record of how it was composed and it is quite as interesting as that of the hymn’s words.

In 1823, a lady in Savannah Georgia, having received and admired a copy of Herbert’s lyrics from England, desired to sing it or hear it sung, but knew no music to fit the meter. She finally thought of a young clerk in a bank close by, Lowell Mason by name, who sometimes wrote music for recreation, and sent her son to ask him if he would make a tune that would sing the lines. The boy returned half an hour later with the composition that doubled Herbert’s fame as well as made his own. In the words of Dr. Charles Robinson “Like the hymn it voices, it was done at a stroke, and it will last through the ages. ”

(Brown and Butterworth; The Story of Hymns and Tunes.

Philip H Eveson

Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom

The hymn was written the day before Pentecost Sunday 1819 and sung for the first time that Sunday in St Giles Parish Church Wrexham where Heber's father-in-law, William Davies Shipley, was the vicar (as well as dean of St Asaph). There is a plaque on Vicarage Hill, Wrexham in the stonework commemorating the spot where the vicarage once stood and the hymn was composed. There is also a window in St Giles Church dedicated to Reginald Heber.

Ana Lara

United States

Written in 1819 by Reginald Heber, this hymn is thought to be one of the finest missionary hymns ever written. Heber himself is considered to be one of the foremost English hymn writers of the nineteenth century. He wrote a total of fifty-seven hymns, with every one still in use.

During his ministry in the Anglican Church he developed an interest in missions. Heber’s writings and influence helped to promote the missionary cause among the Protestant churches. In 1822 he was given a position as a bishop of Calcutta, India. After three years of hard work he became ill and died at the early age of forty-three.

In the summer of 1819 while visiting his father-in-law, Dean Shirley, in the Wrexham Vicarage, Heber was asked if he knew of a hymn that could be used at a missionary service on the next Lord’s Day for Whit-Sunday (the English name for Pentecost). It is said that within a few minutes he returned from a quiet meditation and produced the first three verses of this text. His father-in-law and other family members were thrilled, but Herber felt the hymn was incomplete. He returned to his study and shortly produced the triumphant final verse.

Reginald Heber is also the author of the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy (No. 6)

The tune “Missionary Hymn, ” was specifically composed for this text by an American educator and church musician, Lowell Mason, in 1824. It is said that Mason, like Heber composed this tune with great inspiration and a short amount of time.

Leigh Powell

United Kingdom

The gospel of which this hymn alludes to is that we are sinners who need to be saved. We are saved by repentance from our sins and faith in the. sin bearing Lord Jesus Christ who died for us on the cross, followed by His resurrection from the dead. Our telling others of our faith in the gospel is proof of our salvation - the gospel is NEVER private, kept under a bushel. (Romans 10 verse 9), John 3 verse 16, Mark 1 verse 5).

If the Lord Jesus, the Light of the world, did not hide, but gave His life a ransom for all, then neither must Christians be ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believe (Romans 1 verse 18).

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!