Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see:
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence ev'ry passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's pow'r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness:
Where is death's sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
Heav'n's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
In the Christian church there's a hymn for every occasion and
that's a good thing. There are hymns of praise and thanksgiving;
uplifting the heart. There are hymns of testimony and witness;
proclaiming the truth. There are hymns which anticipate heaven and
encourage the saints to press on to glory. And there are hymns for
spedal occasions like Christmas, Easter, weddings and even funerals.
All of us who have suffered the grief which comes when death enters
the home will understand the sense of utter helplessness which grips
It's inevitable that the angel of death will visit every family
eventually, so when he does it's important to provide the sorrowing
ones with all the support and encouragement that's possible.Here's a
hymn which does just that.
"Abide With Me", must have been sung at more funerals than any other.
There's something particularly solemn about a funeral church filled
with men sounding out the strains of this moving hymn. It seems to
promote a special reverence at such times; to call down the very hush
The man who wrote the words seemed to sense the overlapping of time
and eternity; of life and death.
Henry Frands Lyte was the pastor of a little seaside congregation for
more than twenty-four years. The members of the church, at Lower
Brixham, Devonshire, on England's south coast, were husky, hardy,
seafaring men; well used to the ravages of wind and weather.
Well used, also, to the stark trauma of tragedy at sea and the bitter
cup of sudden death. The fisherfolk living in such areas of these
islands are sadly familiar with the strains of "Abide With Me".
Pastor Lyte, however, didn't enjoy anything resembling good health.
Indeed he was fail and sickly. At length it was suggested that a
change of climate would be of benefit, and accordingly, he prepared to
move to the sunny shores of southern Europe. The doctor gave him the
grim news that he had the dreaded 'consumption,' and advised him,
'soak up all the sun you can; it's your only hope of recovery'.
With more than a heavy heart the Reverend Lyte prepared for his
journey. Now ministers become attached to their pulpits; and well nigh
addicted to the ministry of the Word of God. Henry Francis Lyte was no
exception and so, on the Sunday before he was due to depart, in
September 1847, he ascended the pulpit steps once more.
His people wondered if he would have the strength to stand behind the
sacred desk: or if he would have the voice to speak!
However, with determination he rallied his remaining energies and
addressed his beloved people thus:
'I stand among you today as alive from the dead, that I may hope to
impress upon you to prepare for that solemn hour which must come to us
all, by a time acquaintance with the death of Christ.'
And so he begged them once more to put their trust in the Saviour.
Later he served at the Lord's table in a farewell communion feast with
his now tearful congregation; and then lovingly committed them to the
Lord in prayer.
At home, that same evening, anguish poured from his grief-stricken
soul and in search of solace he penned the words of his now famous
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, 0 abide with me.
Next day the weary servant of God set sail for Nice in the hope of
better health. Sadly, however, it was not to be, for just two short
months later, on November 20th, he passed into the presence of his
Lord with the words, 'joy' and 'peace' upon his lips.
The early ministry of Henry Francis Lyte had ended. He had gone to his
everlasting rest and to his eternal reward. But, thankfully, he left
behind as good a legacy as any man could ever hope to leave - a
ministry faithfully completed and a great hymn, still sung by
- But they constrained him, saying, Abide
with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he
went in to tarry with them.
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