Missionary Hymn

The son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. Luke. ix. 56.

Destruction and the gloomy grave,

Were Hell’s malignant plan,

But the sweet embassy to save,

Was thine, O son of man!

The death-like sorrows Earth had borne,

Before thee took their flight,

Like shadows on the brow of morn,

That vanish into light,

Yes where immortal nature bled,

On sin’s destroying dart; 10

He came, the potent balm to shed,

And poured it from his heart!

Such was the Mission of our God;

Inquire how vast the boon!

Ask ye of Jesus – twas his blood!

The Father – twas his Son!

Saviour, what recompence could dwell,

Between the trembling poles?

Dost thou reply, the spoils of hell,

The recompence of souls! 20

Then let the purchased millions bow,

And say, “thy kingdom come;”

All nations be thine empire now,

And every heart thine home.


Baptist Magazine, 3 (September 1811), p. 396; MS, Box 22/1, Reeves Collection, titled ‘Hymn’, with ending punctuation at lines 4, 8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, and 24; see also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, pp. 100-01. John Saffery was an instrumental figure in the work of the Baptist Missionary Society from its inception in 1792 until his death in 1825. Besides naming one son after William Carey, several poems in this volume by MGS reflect her abiding interest in the Society, of which several missionaries were her correspondents and personal friends, such as Joel and Ann Randall, James Coultart, Jacob Tinson, Thomas Godden, and John Rowe. For the correspondence, see Saffery/Whitaker Papers, acc. 142, I.A.27-8; II.D.1, 7; and Reeves Collection, R7/1-45; R11/1-17; R13/1-24, Angus Library, Oxford.