The Sands of Time Are Sinking

Some of the very best hymns are meant to be read reflectively, devotionally. That’s because so many of them are filled with beautiful imagery. For me, looking through my copy of Hymns of Grace feels a bit like mining for coal. Where every once in awhile, a dazzling diamond is to be found.

One such gem is a hymn entitled “The Sands of Time Are Sinking.” The words are penetrating and profound. Each stanza pushes us to turn our attention away from the here-and-now; and to long for what awaits us in heaven: “my King of grace.”

In 1854 Ann Ross Cousin penned a poem, “The Last Words of Samuel Rutherford.”It was originally nineteen verses long (you can read it in its entirety here with references to each of Rutherford’s letters). Sometime later it was shortened and shared as “The Sands of Time Are Sinking.”

Press play to give it a listen and follow along with the words below.

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.

1 Hymns of Grace (Los Angeles: The Master’s Seminary Press, 2016). 427.