- 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, oh, 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 every 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.
Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)
Henry Lyte coined the phrase “It is better to wear out than to rust out.” And Henry Lyte wore out when he was fifty-four years old, an obscure pastor who labored for twenty-three years in a poor church in a fishing village in Devonshire, England. This hymn, written shortly before his death, was inspired by the words of the two disciples met by Jesus on the road to Emmaus: “Abide with us, [they said,] for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent” (Luke 24:29, KJV).
Note the fourth stanza, which carries such hope for the Christian. As Lyte wrote this, he knew he was dying of tuberculosis and asthma. It was “eventide” for him, darkness was deepening, and he felt very much alone. But he was not alone, and we are not alone even in our darkest times. Our Lord is with us, “the help of the helpless,” the one who never changes, our guide and security. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
From “The One Year Book Of Hymns: 365 Devotional Readings Based On Great Hymns Of The Faith”, by Robert K Brown and Mark R. Norton