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~Lead, Kindly Light


       John Henry Newman was converted at the age of fifteen and became filled with a sense of the nearness of God, a feeling which remained with him all his life. 

      The writer was a clergyman of the Church of England, who was greatly distressed by politics in the English Church.  He felt that things were going wrong, and he was torn by the feeling that he himself ought to do something. It was his prayer for God’s leading in his perplexity.

       Suffering from poor health, he grew  better and set off across the Mediterranean from Marseilles.  It was on this voyage, on June 15, 1833, that he wrote our hymn, “Lead Kindly Light.” 
       The struggle through which he passed, prior to entering into God’s restfulness suggested by this hymn, is described by other verses, written a little earlier—

Time was I shrank from what was right,

From fear of what was wrong;

I would not brave the sacred fight,

Because the foe was strong.

But now I cast that finer sense

And sorer shame aside;

Such dread of sin was insolence,

Such aim at Heaven was pride.

So when my Saviour calls, I rise,

And calmly do my best;

Leaving to Him, with silent eyes,

Of hope and fear the rest.

I step, I mount, where he has led;

Men count my haltings o’er;—

I know them; yet, though self I dread,

I love his precept more.



Lead Kindly Light


(1) Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom,

Lead thou me on;

The night is dark, and I am far from home;

Lead Thou me on;

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene--one step enough for me.


(2) I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou

Shouldst lead me on;

I loved to choose and see my path; but now

Lead Thou me on.

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,

Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.


(3) So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still

Will lead me on,

O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent till

The night is gone;

And with the morn those angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.






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