Words: (1824-1906).

Music: Sub­sti­tu­tion, (1840-1908). Al­ter­nate tune:

  • Con­so­la­tion (Ul­ster), folk mel­o­dy

If you know when the words or mu­sic were writ­ten

A young of­fi­cer in the Brit­ish ar­my turned away in hor­ror from the doc­trine of this hymn. His pride re­volt­ed, his self-right­eous­ness rose in re­bel­lion, and he said: “He would be a cow­ard in­deed who would go to hea­ven at the cost of ano­ther!” As the years rolled away this man rose to dis­tinct­ion and high rank in the ar­my, and he al­so learned wis­dom. In his last hours, as he lay on his death­bed, he re­peat­edl­y begged those near him to sing “O Christ, what bur­dens bowed Thy head,” call­ing it, “My hymn, my hymn!”

A gun­ner of the roy­al ar­til­lery was at­tend­ing the Old Sol­diers’ Home in Wool­wich dur­ing the spring of 1886. The chief at­tract­ion to him at first was the night-school. From this he was event­u­al­ly led to join the Bi­ble-class and at­tend the Sun­day even­ing ser­vice in the Hall. See­ing that he looked ve­ry un­hap­py and that he lin­gered af­ter the meet­ing, one night, a work­er asked him if an­y­thing was troub­ling him. The tears came to his eyes at once, and he said: “I want to be a Christ­ian, but I am afraid that I am too bad.” He then told how on the pre­vi­ous Sun­day even­ing, when this hymn was sung, he was so over­pow­ered by the thought of what the Lord had en­dured for our sins that af­ter the first verse he could not sing. The sol­emn words were fixed in his mem­o­ry, and had trou­bled him all the week, un­til he came to the great Bur­den-bear­er.

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,
Didst bear all ill for me.
A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there’s no load for me.

Death and the curse were in our cup:
O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,
’Tis empty now for me.
That bitter cup, love drank it up;
Now blessing’s draught for me.

Jehovah lifted up His rod;
O Christ, it fell on Thee!
Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God;
There’s not one stroke for me.
Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed;
Thy bruising healeth me.

The tempest’s awful voice was heard,
O Christ, it broke on Thee!
Thy open bosom was my ward,
It braved the storm for me.
Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;
Now cloudless peace for me.

Jehovah bade His sword awake;
O Christ, it woke ’gainst Thee!
Thy blood the flaming blade must slake;
Thine heart its sheath must be;
All for my sake, my peace to make;
Now sleeps that sword for me.

For me, Lord Jesus, Thou hast died,
And I have died in Thee!
Thou’rt ris’n—my hands are all untied,
And now Thou liv’st in me.
When purified, made white and tried,
Thy glory then for me!