This hymn was written by Cecil Frances Alexander (d.1895) and it first appeared in Hymns for Little Children (1848) to teach the meaning of the Apostles’ Creed. Here, ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’, is one of many hymns written in response to the remark of one of the children that he couldn’t understand the Catechism. She wrote over 200 hymns, characterised by their ability to ‘make theology picturesque’1.
There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
He died that we might be forgiv’n,
He died to make us good,
That we might go at last to heav’n,
Saved by his precious blood.
There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heav’n, and let us in.
O dearly, dearly has he loved,
And we must love him too,
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do.