Text: Laurence Tuttiett (1825-1897)
Music: Henry Smart (1813-1879)
Tune name: LANCASHIRE
This hymn was originally published in Laurence Tuttiett’s Counsels of a Godfather (1861), and was intended for use at Confirmation.
1. Go forward, Christian soldier,
beneath his banner true;
the Lord himself, thy Leader,
shall all thy foes subdue.
His love foretells thy trials;
he knows thine hourly need;
he can with bread of heaven
thy fainting spirit feed.
2. Go forward, Christian soldier,
fear not the secret foe;
far more o’er thee are watching
than human eyes can know;
trust only Christ, thy Captain;
cease not to watch and pray;
heed not the treach’rous voices
that lure thy soul astray.
3. Go forward, Christian soldier,
nor dream of peaceful rest,
till Satan’s host is vanquished
and heaven is all possessed;
till Christ himself shall call thee
to lay thine armor by,
and wear in endless glory
the crown of victory.
4. Go forward, Christian soldier,
fear not the gathering night:
the Lord has been thy shelter;
the Lord will be thy light.
when morn his face revealeth,
thy dangers all are past:
O pray that faith and virtue
may keep thee to the last!
Having the characteristics of a march makes LANCASHIRE an appropriate tune for this text. It was composed in 1835 by church musician Henry Smart for use at a missionary meeting in Lancashire, England, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Reformation in England. Originally composed for the text “From Greenland’s icy mountains” (#254 in our Hymnal), it is best known today as the tune to “Lead on, O King eternal” (#554).
Below is Andrew Remillard’s rendition of this hymn on piano.