Hymn of the Day: Be Still, My Soul was yesterday’s hymn and a well-loved hymn at that! Today’s hymn, The Sands of Time Are Sinking, is not as well-known, but is certainly the most popular of the hymns that Anne Ross Cousin published.

“Ann Cousin (1824-1906) was a Scottish poet and the wife of William Cousin, a Free Church of Scotland minister.  She starting writing hymns for use in her husband’s church in Irvine, Scotland. Very soon, her hymns were being used and enjoyed throughout Scotland and England.  In 1854 she wrote a poem, originally titled “The Last Words of Samuel Rutherford”, based off of his Letters and deathbed sayings. The original version contained a whopping nineteen verses, but before long five of them circulated together as “The Sands of Time Are Sinking.” The full version is on the Indelible Grace website, with notes indicating which letters are referenced in each verse.

Cousin does a great job distilling Rutherford’s main pastoral themes into concise, accessible verse. The result is a beautiful Christian reflection on death and what comes after, and on the beauty of the Savior. Still, it is Cousin’s hymn and not Rutherford’s. Far from slavishly copying his catchphrases, she shows a willingness to rework even his most memorable lines and to supplement them with poetic images of her own invention. Her adaptation was so successful that the “Rutherford” quotes on the memorial in Anwoth are, in fact, Cousin quotes. In sum, “The Sands of Time Are Sinking” is at once a pithy introduction of Samuel Rutherford’s theology, and an expression of Cousin’s poetic genius.” – Read more at Mere Orthodoxy

I have posted the full 19 stanza poem here: Last Words: A Poem

Here is the original hymn, I believe, if you wish to listen to it.

However, I must say I enjoy this version just as much, if not more!

Here are the lyrics to the Sovereign Grace version from above and below the lyrics is the song sheet to the original hymn.

The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for,
The fair, sweet morn awakes;
Dark, dark hath been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

The King there in His beauty,
Without a veil is seen;
It were a well spent journey,
Though sev’n deaths lay between;
The Lamb with His fair army
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, deep well of love;
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above;
There to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

With mercy and with judgment
My web of time He wove;
And always dews of sorrow
Were lustered with His love;
I’ll bless the hand that guided,
I’ll bless the heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

Oh! I am my Beloved’s
And my Beloved’s mine!
He brings a poor, vile sinner
Into His “house of wine;”
I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand,
Not e’en where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

The bride eyes not her garments,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my King of grace;
Not at the crown He giveth,
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land.


The sands of time.jpg

5 thoughts on “Hymn of the Day: The Sands of Time Are Sinking

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