St. Andrews Hymns

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Horatius Bonar was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1808, lived and ministered in that city for most of his life and in buried in Canongate Church yard at the lower end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.   He had gifts for preaching that marked his long life and ministry in the Church of Scotland and then in the Free Church following the Disruption of 1843.  He wrote theological papers, pamphlets and was close friends with Robert Murray McCheyne of Dundee.   He also had a gift for, and a strong sense of calling to ministry to children.  The Scottish church used only metric psalms in worship and so would not sing any of the hymns Bonar wrote.  But the children did sing them and loved them, including the hymn I Heard The Voice of Jesus Say.

One friend described him as “Pre-eminently a man of God, one who lived entirely under the power of the world to come”.   But he was also a Scot and a man of his time.  He once remarked, “laughter and gaiety belong to a fallen world. They are too superficial to have a place among the holy and too hollow to be known among the truly happy.”  But I am certain that Mr. Bonar whose pilgrim days are over will not now mind if we have periods of laughter in glad fellowship as we walk ours.

I Heard the Voice Guitar Chords