I remember this hymn from my school days. We always used to sing this hymn in Church at Easter. It is a truly wonderful hymn.
Mrs Alexander was the daughter of a major and the wife of a bishop. She was a tireless visitor, going from cottage to cottage in all weathers, supporting her husband’s work in his diocese in Northern Ireland.
This hymn, dating from before her marriage, was written at the bedside of a child who was ill. The profits from Hymns for Little Children, where it first appeared in print, went to a school for deaf and dumb children in Londonderry. And Mendelssohn’s friend, William Horsley, who wrote the famous tune, was organist for eighteen years at a home for orphan girls in London.
The girl for whom the words were written recovered from her illness, and always regarded the hymn as especially hers, even when she grew up. Its greatness lies in the fact that so many other adults have done the same.
There is a green hill far away
Outside the city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
He died that we may be forgiven,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heaven,
Saved by His precious blood.
We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us
He sung and suffered there.
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven, and let us in.
O dearly, dearly has he loved,
And we must love Him too,
Amd trus in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do
With many peaceful blessings