O dearest Lord, what law hast Thou e'er broken
That such sharp sentence should on Thee be spoken?
Of what misdeed hast Thou to make confession —
What dark transgression?
They crown Thy head with thorns, they smite, they scourge Thee;
With cruel mockings to the cross they urge Thee;
They give Thee gall to drink, they still decry Thee;
They crucify Thee.
What punishment so strange is suffered yonder?
The shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander;
The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him,
Who would not know Him.
The sinless Son of God must die in sadness;
The sinful child of man may live in gladness;
Man forfeited His life and is acquitted —
God is committed.
O mighty King, no time can dim Thy glory!
How shall I spread abroad Thy wondrous story?
How shall I find some worthy gift to proffer?
What dare I offer?
I'll think upon Thy mercy without ceasing;
That earth's vain joys no more to me be pleasing;
To do Thy will shall be my sole endeavor