Dr. H.L. Rossier, 1852-1942

Notes from "The Little Flock Hymn Book" by Adrian Roach:

This brother requested at his death that he should not be spoken of. Information is therefore very brief. Here is a quotation from one who knew him.

"He was well known as a physician, but he heard at an early age the call of the Lord to serve Him. He was for 58 years the editor of the monthly periodical 'Le Messager Evangelique' which is still a precious paper among the brethren in France and French-speaking Switzerland. He has left to his brethren the most valuable written ministry; many writings for the edification of the saints (notes and studies) and beautiful poetic works. He also wrote 28 hymns of a great elevation for the book still in use in our meetings" — [that is in France].

Notes from "Songs of Pilgrimage and Glory" by E.E. Cornwall:

There is a much loved hymn of 4 verses —

"Lord, e'en to death Thy love could go,
A death of shame and loss,
To vanquish for us every foe,
And break the strong man's force".

It was written by Dr.H. Rossier, residing in the Rue Collet, Vevey, the picturesque town on the shores of the Lake of Geneva, in the Canton of Vaud. His father was the late J.B. Rossier, who had been associated with Mr. Darby from the first in Switzerland; and it was in 1838 that Mr Darby commenced his fruitful labours in that country. Mr. J.B. Rossier attained to a ripe old age, and at his death, his son wrote a poem entitled Le Repose in memory of his respected father. The hymn, — "Lord, e'en to death Thy love could go"— appeared in the second edition of the Little Flock Hymn Book, having been (somewhat freely) translated from the French by Miss C.A. Wellesley.

A few years afterwards, Dr. Rossier sent over a copy of this hymn as originally written in French, and from this, Miss M.J. Ray of Croydon, made a literal translation without attention to rhyme, as follows:

"Thou lovedst us even unto death,
Saviour full of tenderness;
For us Thou didst vanquish the strong man,
Even in his stronghold (or fortress).
Oh! How they weighed upon Thee,
Alone in that dark hour —
The forsaking, the anguish, the terror,
Of our sins without number.
And now the noise (or roar) of the billows
Which passed over Thy head,
Has given place to divine rest —
From (or through) Thy perfect work.
Around Thee, Thy redeemed ones,
Still on this earth,
Taste the joys
Of the Father's House".

Dr. Rossier's hymns In 'Spiritual Songs' are:

227 Lord, e'en to death Thy love could go

498 Perfect eternal rest — ever to serve, adore Thee!

These are two magnificent hymns. The first (227) is often sung in the early part of the remembrance of the Lord when His own are gathered together to break bread. The second (498) is a hymn of profound depth of feeling and is a true worship hymn.

Hymns by Dr. H.L. Rossier