The Sands of Time Are Sinking

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This hymn text is based on letters from a seventeenth century Scottish pastor named Samuel Rutherford. The hymn reveals this pastor's deep love for his church as well as the personal loss that he experiened while pastoring, losing his wife and two children to death. During the post-reformation era of non-conformity he was imprisoned for defending the free church and its doctrine which provided the occasion for him to write his letters.

The poet Anne Cousin cast Rutherford's rich imagery into beautiful poetry, helping to deepen its impact on us even today in the twenty-first century. There are few hymns which so clearly remind us that the love Jesus has for his church surpasses marital love . Anticipating his coming is referred to as sighing for the breaking of the dawn of heaven when we will behold our king in his beauty and glory. We, the church, as his bride, will be fully captivated by him, drinking deeply of the never ending fountain of love he will bring. Truly a celebration of the love of Christ, the last stanza invites us to imagine the wedding feast as it hints of being in his "house of wine."


Verse 1:
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 Emmanuel's land.

Verse 2:
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 Emmanuel's land.

Verse 3:
Oh! Christ He is the fountain,
The deep sweet 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 Emmanuel's land.

Verse 4:
The bride eyes not her garment,
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 Emmanuel's land.

Worthy, worthy is the Lamb.
Glory, glory to the Lamb.
Worthy, worthy is the Lamb.
Glory in Emmanuel's land.

Verse 5:
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 Emmanuel's land.

Words by Anne Cousin (1824-1906), based on Samuel Rutherford's Letters
Music by David L. Ward, © 2018


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