Hymn on the Transfiguration.

It was remarked to me by a friend that he knew of no modern English Hymn on
the Transfiguration—an incident of the Gospel narrative so remarkable in itself, so
full of manifold instruction, and so frequently read in our Church Services, and
which perhaps more fully than any other single scene contains the concentration of
the main lessons of our Lord’s Life on Earth.
There is none othen which brings together so many characteristic points : the
contrast and contact with the miseries of the world, the connexion with the
choicest spirits of the Old and of the New Dispensation, the Ideal of human
life, the near prospect of the Death and Passion, and the revelation of the
Divine Will as the main purpose of the Advent.
It is certainly curious that no Hymn bearing on this subject is to be found in
Sir Roundell Palmer’s “ Book of Praise,” nor in the “ Christian Year.” It is a
remarkable instance of the tendency of Christian devotion to avoid the lessons to
be derived from the general scenes of the Gospel narrative, just as the Mediæval
pilgrimages omitted Capernaum and the Plain of Gennesareth.
In accordance with this suggestion, I have endeavoured (as in a Hymn written
some years ago on the Ascension) to combine, as far as was possible, the various
thoughts connected with the scene.


Master, it is good to be1
High on the mountain here with Thee :”2
Here, in an ampler, purer air,3
Above the stir of toil and care,4
Of hearts1 distraught with doubt and grief,5
Believing in their unbelief,6
Calling Thy servants, all in vain,7
To ease them of their bitter pain.8


Master, it is good to be9
Where rest the souls that talk with Thee :”10
Where stand reveal’d to mortal gaze11
The2 great old saints of other days ;12
Who once receiv’d on Horeb’s height13
The3 eternal laws of truth and right ;14
Or4 caught the still small whisper, higher15
Than storm, than earthquake, or than fire.16
1 Mark ix. 16-29.
2 Dent. v. 5.
3 Mark ix. 4.
4 1 Kings xix. 12.


Master, it is good to be17
With Thee, and with Thy faithful Three.”18
Here,1 where the Apostle’s heart of rock19
Is nerv’d against temptation’s shock ;20
Here, where the Son of Thunder learns21
The thought that breathes, and word that burns ;’22
Here, where on eagle’s wings we move23
With him whose last best creed is Love.24


Master, it is good to be25
Entranc’d, enwrapt, alone with Thee ;”26
Watching the glistering raiment glow,27
Whiter2 than Hermon’s whitest snow ;28
The human lineaments that shine29
Irradiant3 with a light Divine :30
Till we too change from grace to grace431
Gazing on that transfigur’d Face.32


Master, it is good to be33
In life’s worst anguish close to Thee.”34
Within5 the overshadowing cloud35
Which wraps us in its awful shroud,36
We6 wist not what to think or say,37
Our spirits sink in sore dismay ;38
They tell us7 of the dread “ Decease”—39
But yet to linger here is peace.40


Master, it is good to be41
Here8 on the Holy Mount with Thee :”42
When darkling in the depths of night,43
When dazzled with excess of light,44
We bow before the heavenly Voice45
That bids bewilder’d souls rejoice,46
Though love wax cold, and faith be dim47
This9 is my Son—O hear ye Him.”48
1 Mark ix.
2 Mark ix. 13.
3 Matt. xvii. 2.
4 2 Cor. iii. 18.
5 Luke ix. 34.
6 Mark ix. 6.
7 Luke ix. 31.
8 2 Pet. i. 17.
9 Matt. xvii. 5.