Heroes of the Christian story
Are the heroes I shall bring.
Warriors of the world, avaunt!
Other heroes me engage;
‘Tis not such as you I want,
Saints and Martyrs grace my page.
Warriors who the world o’ercame
Were in brother’s blood imbrued;
While the saints of purer fame,
Greater far themselves subdued.
Fearful Christian! hear with wonder,
Of the Saints of whom I tell;
Some were burnt, some sawn asunder,
Some by fire or torture fell;
Some to savage beasts were hurl’d,
One escaped the lion’s den;
Was a persecuting world
Worthy of these wondrous men?
Some in fiery furnace thrown,
Yet escaped, unsinged their hair;
There Almighty power was shown,
For the Son of God was there.
Let us crown with deathless fame
Those who scorn’d and hated fell;
Martyrs met contempt and shame,
Fearing nought but sin and hell.
How the shower of stones descended,
Holy Stephen, on thy head!
While his tongue the truth defended,
How the glorious Martyr bled!
See his fierce reviler Saul,
How he rails with impious breath!
Then observe converted Paul
Oft in perils, oft in death.
‘Twas that God, whose sovereign power
Did the lion’s fury ‘suage,
Could alone, in one short hour,
Still the persecutor’s rage.
E’en a woman – women hear,
Read in Maccabees the story,
Conquer’d nature, love, and fear,
To obtain a crown of glory.
Seven stout sons she saw expire,
(How the mother’s soul was pain’d!)
Some by sword, and some by fire,
(How the Martyr was sustain’d!)
E’en in death’s acutest anguish
Each the tyrant still defy’d;
Each she saw in torture languish,
Last of all the mother died.
Martyrs who were thus arrested,
In their short but bright career,
By their blood the truth attested,
Proved their faith and love sincere.
Though their lot was hard and lowly,
Though they perish’d at the stake,
Now they live with Christ in glory,
Since they suffer’d for his sake.
Fierce and unbelieving foes
But their bodies could destroy;
Short, though bitter were their woes,
Everlasting is their joy.

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