Hallgrímur Pétursson

Having blogged for a few years on a blog generating over a half-million hits, I’ve enjoyed one of the great fruits of the labor–building relationships with readers. A number of readers have become friends of a sort. They interact on the blog to challenge my arguments, clarify my fuzziness, correct my errors, provoke ideas, and build with encouragement. I have a number of these readers and many I’ve been blessed to meet in person. Thank you for your input!

I must say that one of the my favorite readers is Tom Bombadil (a curiously Tolkienian username). Tom has posted a number of comments over the past year. He has wisely challenged me (on the value of patristic authors), entertained me (by reminding us of the ever-valuable Calvinus beer website), shocked me (by out-weighing the new 100-ounce Works of Andrew Fuller with his shelf-splintering, 126-ounce Bauer/Danker lexicon), and encouraged me with consistent kindness.

But I think it’s his last comment that I consider his most valuable. In the last post on cross-centered books, Tom posted the lyrics to two hymns by Hallgrímur Pétursson, a 17th century Lutheran poet, hymnwriter, priest/pastor, from Iceland. I pulled the quotes out of the comments in case you missed them.

Tom cites the origin of these quotes from Pétursson’s, Hymns of the Passion: Meditations on the Passion of Christ (1666 edition translated by Arthur C. Gook, 1978). The book is long out of print, rare, and expensive.

So, Tom, I know you’re reading. Thanks for these excerpts. Keep posting comments. I learn from the correction, I’m humored at the funny-business, edified by your cross-centeredness, and blessed by your kindness.

Here are the excerpts posted by Tom.


‘Arise, my soul, my heart, my mind,
And all that I within me find,
Come, help me, tongue, my Lord to own
And make His wondrous passion known!

Paul, the Apostle, chose the theme;
To preach it was his task supreme–
The Passion of the Crucified,
That sinners might be justified.

Since Jesus gave His latest breath
To save me from eternal death,
Should not the powers He thus renewed
Show forth to Him my gratitude?

At last repentance rends my heart,
How poorly have I played my part!
What Jesus suffered in my place
I oft forget, –to my disgrace!

My soul, behold the sacrifice
which paid our trespass’ awful price,
Restored the rebel sinner’s state–
What joy on this to meditate!


In sin’s dark dungeon lying
A helpless captive I,
My conscience crucifying,
Heave sigh on weary sigh.
My mortal wound no balm can find,
No help I see around me,
Or solace for my mind.

The Law with heavy lashes
Chastised me for my sin,
Brought me to dust and ashes
With cruel discipline.
No hope I saw; my case was lost,
My heart was bowed with sorrow;
My spirit tempest-tossed.

But Thou dist hear my groaning
And hasting to my aid,
For Thy poor child atoning
Thy sacrifice was made.
The spotless soul was chastened sore
That I should be delivered –
Reclaimed forevermore.

My pains by Thee were taken,
That healing might be mine.
In darkness Thou, forsaken,
Gav’st light on me to sine.
The chastisement on Thee was laid,
Wounded for my transgressions,
And thus my debt was paid.

My heart with grief is stricken
When I survey Thy woes.
Oh! That my love may quicken
To guage how much it owes!
The grief I caused Thee I lament,
My sin has brought Thee sorrow.
Oh! How I now repent.

4 thoughts on “Hallgrímur Pétursson

  1. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”

    Thank you Tony. It’s been a pleasure getting to know a like-minded brother.

    All the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ to you and your family,
    Tom Bombadil
    Tom Bombadil

  2. Tony,

    I have enjoyed your blog for some while now. I was delighted to see Petersson quoted. I discovered him while on holiday in Iceland a few years ago. The cathedral in Reykjavik is named after him. I have used one or two of the Hymns of the Passion regularly. They are long and contemporary congregations need edited versions, unfortunately. Occasionally Gook’s English is a bit clumsy and benefits from a little revising.

    Yesterday in church we sang as a communion hymn:

    Look! Here is one quite free from sin,
    Holy and pure, without, within.
    Begotten in a virgin’s womb
    And undefiled from birth to tomb;
    True Image of the Infinite,
    Stainless and spotless in his sight.

    Never from righteous paths he swerved;
    Never a punishment deserved.
    Why, then, should suffering harsh and grim
    Relentlessly be laid on him?
    Why was his sinless soul chastised;
    And with such punishment baptised?

    Behold, my soul, it was for thee
    The Saviour suffered on the tree;
    For thee, who well deserved the shame
    Which o’er the blessed Saviour came,
    When he his life laid down for thee,
    That thou might’st live eternally.

    The Law proclaimed my utmost guilt,
    And claimed that guilty blood be spilt.
    Death hastes me to the Judgment Seat,
    My condemnation is complete.
    Nothing that judgment can repeal,
    Nothing my cankered soul can heal.

    But Jesus has my debt repaid,
    And for my sins atonement made.
    By what my Saviour did for me
    My bonds are snapped, I now am free.
    And broken now is death’s sharp sting,
    Out of his snare with joy I spring

  3. Thank you for too much to enumerate–for your blog, for encouraging CJ to blog, and being a spiritual oasis in this blogging world of ours. And thank you for sharing the hymns of Petursson! How I absolutely love hymns and find a refuge in their depth, doctrine, and calming rhythms.
    God bless you for your obedience, and may He continue to reach many through your outreach and His Cross!
    I’m quickly becoming a regular visitor to Shpeherds Scrapbook, and added your link to my own nascent and humble site. If I come across any new-old hymns, I’ll certainly share them with you and others in this venue!

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