Good Friday Gospel in Poetry

On this Good Friday 2019 I re-post poems (hymns) from two of my favorite poet/writers – Augustus Toplady and William Cowper. April is also National Poetry Month, so  we may also acknowledge this special time of celebrating good poems, especially in the Christian tradition.

May these poems give expression to our own faith-confession concerning Christ crucified. Poems are meant to be read and meditated on, as well as sung (as hymns), in order to praise the God of great grace and mighty mercy.


Augustus M. Toplady Hymn XIV. Thanksgiving for the Sufferings of Christ

1 O Thou who didst thy glory leave,
Apostate sinners to retrieve,
From nature’s deadly fell;
Me thou hast purchas’d with a price,
Nor shall my crimes in judgment rise,
For thou hast borne them all.

2 Jesus was punish’d in my stead,
Without the gate my surety bled,
To expiate my stain;
On earth the Godhead deign’d to dwell,
And made of infinite avail,
The suff’rings of the man.

3 And was he for his rebels giv’n?
He was: th’ incarnate King of hev’n
Did for his foes expire;
Amaz’d, O earth, the tidings hear;
He bore, that we might never bear,
His Father’s righteous ire.

4 Ye saints, the man of sorrows bless,
The God for your unrighteousness,
Deputed to atone:
Praise him ’till with the heav’nly throng,
Ye sing the never-ending song,
And see him on his throne.

Hymns and Poems, Augustus M. Toplady (Cross Publishing, 1971)


William Cowper, Olney Hymns, XV. Praise for the Fountain Opened (Zech.xiii 1)

There is a fountain fill’d with blood,
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there have I, as vile as he,
Wash’d all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransom’d church of God
Be saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save;
When this poor lisping stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared
(Unworthy though I be)
For me a blood-bought free reward,
A golden harp for me!
‘Tis strung and tuned for endless years,
And form’d by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears
No other name but Thine.