The Sands of Time Are Sinking

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My home church has been learning a new song for the past couple of weeks and I thought it might be helpful to share the hymn, point to the modern recording that's available, and point out some lyric changes that one of our song team members made to make the text more understandable. This hymn came from a much longer poetic work published in 1857 by Anne Cousin. It focuses our attention on the fleeting nature of our lives and directs our gaze to what lies beyond death - the chance for the church to be with her bridegroom Jesus, the glory of Immanuel's land.

The lyrics and tune are in the public domain as the tune is an American folk tune. The attached chords are based on the arrangement by Indelible Grace. Our worship leader spent a lot of time working with the lyrics to make some of the phrases whose meaning was buried under poetic devices more easily accessible on first read. He also rearranged the order of the stanzas in a very logical way. Whether you use the original text or this modified text, I can heartily recommend this song for it's Christ-centered focus and catchy, singable tune.

A recording is available on the album "Pilgrim Days" by Indelible Grace. You can download the track from Amazon here, and from iTunes here.


             (Show Original Wordings)
The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I've longed for-
That fair, sweet sunrise wakes:
Dark, dark has been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwells there
In Immanuel's land.

O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love!
On earth His love I've tasted,
Yet deeper still above:
There to an ocean's fullness
His mercy does expand,
And glory, glory dwells there
In Immanuel's land.

The King's full, unveiled glory,
Is seen in Heaven's day:
Though death's the price to see Him,
Yet seven deaths I'd pay:
The Lamb with His fair army,
Does on Mount Zion stand,
And glory, glory dwells there
In Immanuel's land.

O I am my Beloved's
And my Beloved mine!
He brings a poor, vile sinner
Into His house of wine.
I rest upon His merit-
On Rock of Ages stand,
And glory, glory dwells there
In Immanuel's land.

The bride turns from her splendor
To see her Bridgegroom's face;
She'll gaze upon no glory
Than her dear King of grace.
Not on the crown He gives her
But on His nail-scarred hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel's land.

Text: Anne Cousin (1824-1906), Edited by Josh Buttram
Tune: American Folk Tune


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[...] Here’s a sensitively modernised text (with which you can compare the original phrasing) at Indelible Grace have recorded this with an contemporary setting of an uptempo older tune with [...]
This wonderful hymn is based on the last utterings of Samuel Rutherford - a great man of God. Few know the story of this man's life with his persecution by the church and parliament. For more information, please see:-

This will be time well spent!
Iain Johnstone
» Iain Johnstone on January 20th, 2012

I forgot to add that the original tune is 'Rutherford'. Sadly this hymn has fallen into disuse and replaced by more 'modern' songs' in the UK.
I am pleased to see that it is still alive and well!

Iain Johnstone
» Iain Johnstone on January 20th, 2012

First sang with Rora Christian Fellowship, Devon nearly forty years ago. First encounter since then.
Prefer the old version's words, giveth and dwelleth etc.
» George on October 25th, 2014
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(while it is still alive!)