History,  Hymn History

Hymn History ~ The Sands of Time are Sinking

Author: Anne Ross Cousin

Composer: Edward F. Rimbault

Tune: Rutherford


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 seven 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, 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 Immanuel’s land.

With mercy and with judgment
My web of time He wove,
And aye, the dews of sorrow
Were lustred with His love:
I’ll bless the hand that guided,
I’ll bless the heart that plann’d,
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 even where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land!

The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegrooms face;
I will not gaze on 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.

I’ve wrestled on towards Heaven,
Against storm and wind and tide,
Now, like a weary traveler
That leaneth on his guide,
Amid the shades of evening,
While sinks life’s lingering sand,
I hail the glory dawning
In Immanuel’s land.

Deep waters crossed life’s pathway,
The hedge of thorns was sharp;
Now, these lie all behind me
Oh! for a well-tuned harp!
Oh! to join hallelujah
With yon triumphant band,
Who sing where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

Soon shall the cup of glory
Wash down earth’s bitterest woes,
Soon shall the dessert briar
Break into Eden’s rose;
The curse shall change to blessing
The name on earth that’s banned
Be graven on the white stone
In Immanuel’s land.

Oft in yon sea beat prison
My Lord and I held tryst,
For Anwoth was not Heaven,
And preaching was not Christ:
And, aye, my murkiest storm cloud
Was by a rainbow spanned,
Caught from the glory dwelling,
In Immanuel’s land.

But that He built a Heaven
Of His surpassing love,
A little new Jerusalem,
Like to the one above,
‘Lord take me over the water.’
Hath been my loud demand,
‘Take me to my Love’s own country,
Unto Immanuel’s land.’

But flowers need night’s cool darkness,
The moonlight and the dew;
So Christ, from one who loved it,
His shimmering oft withdrew:
And then, for cause of absence
My troubled soul I scanned.
But glory shadeless shineth,
In Immanuel’s land.

The little birds of Anwoth,
I used to count them blessed,
Now, beside happier alters
I go to build my nest:
Over these there broods no silence,
No graves around them stand,
For glory, deathless, dwelleth,
In Immanuel’s land.

I shall sleep sound in Jesus,
Filled with His likeness rise,
To love and to adore Him,
To see Him with these eyes:
‘Tween me and resurrection
But Paradise doth stand;
Then – then for glory dwelling
In Immanuel’s land.

I have borne scorn and hatred,
I have born wrong and shame,
Earths proud ones have reproached me
For Christ’s thrice blessed name:
Where God His seal set fairest
They’ve stamped the foulest brand,
But judgment shines like noon day
In Immanuel’s land.

They’ve summoned me before them,
But there I shall not come,
My Lord says ‘Come up hither,’
My Lord says ‘Welcome home!’
My King, at His white throne,
My presence doth command,
Where glory – glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

The Story Behind the Story…..

The hymn I chose to write about today is one of my favourites…and it became even more enjoyed when I found the origins of it were from the Scottish Covenanters — one of my favourite periods in world history….and also one of the saddest times.

Samuel Rutherford was born in Nisbet, Roxburghshire, Scotland, in the year 1600. In 1625 he became the minister of a little church in the small town of Anwoth, and became a great Scottish theologian.

In 1650 Samuel Rutherford wrote a book called “Lex Rex” — “The Law is King”, against the tyranny of monarchs. At the time, Charles I was the king, and was persecuting the Scottish people who stood by the covenant signed by their descendants, which stated that only King Jesus had a divine right over the church. King Charles would rather that he had divine right. His motto was “Rex Lex” — “The King is Law”. The king exiled Samuel Rutherford to Aberdeen, away from Anwoth and his parishioners. Samuel Rutherford wrote to his parishioners, encouraging them in what became known later as the “killing times”, and someone saved all those letters.

In 1660 he was in poor health. Neverthless, a warrant had been issued for his arrest, and he was locked in irons and started on a journey to Edinburgh. He died before he being put on trial. His last words were, “Tell them I have got a summons already and from a superior judge and judicatory, and I behoove to answer my first summons; and ere your day arrive I will be where few kings and great folk come. I shall live and adore Christ; glory to my Redeemer forever. Glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land! Dear brethren, do all for Christ. Pray for Christ. Preach for Christ. Beware of men-pleasing.”

The Story Behind the Hymn….

Anne Ross Cousin was the daughter of Dr. David Cuendall, an assistant surgeon in the battle of Waterloo. She was born April 27, 1824, In Kingston-Upon-Hull, in England. When she was three years old her father died, and she and her mother resettled in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Mrs. Cousin was educated at home by her mother, and became fluent in french, italian, and german, and she learned enough greek to be able to read the New Testament in it’s original language. She became a skilled pianist under the instruction of John Muer Wood.

She married Reverend William Cousin, of Free Church of  Scotland, in 1847, when she was twenty three, and six children, four boys and two girls. In 1882 her third son died, and a few years later her husband died. In 1896 her last surviving child, Isabella Wilhelmina, died during childbirth.

Mrs. Cousin died December 6, 1906, in Edinburgh. During her life she wrote 107 hymns, and authored a book entitled, “The Last Words of Samuel Rutherford: Some of His Sweet Sayings”.

She is best known for the hymn she wrote, “The Sands of Time are Sinking”. It is based on the last words of Samuel Rutherford, as well as his letters that he wrote to his parishioners at Anwoth during his exile, which she read in 1865. As she was meditating on these letters while she was sewing, she would stop every now and again to write down a stanza until the she had completed the poem.

The Composer…

Edward Francis Rimbault was born in Soho, London, into a French Huguenot family June 13, 1816. His father, Stephen Francis Rimbault, was an organist, a composer, and arranged music.

Edward Rimbault was taught music by his father, Samuel Wesley, and William Crotch. When he was sixteen he became the organist for Swiss Church, in Soho.

Mr. Rimbault arranged many operettas, and edited and rearranged several early English music pieces. He also authored several books about music.

The original tune for “The Sands of Time are Sinking” was written in 1834 for a french hymn. Edward Rimbault found the hymn and rearranged it in 1867, calling the tune “Rutherford”.

In 1842 Edward Rimbault was granted membership in the Academy of Music in Stockholm. He died September 26, 1876.

Martin Luther

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I am a 23 year old young lady who is redeemed and saved from my sin only by the grace of God. A bibliophile at heart with a love of history who desires to see the Word of God practically applied to all aspects of our daily lives -- in our homes, in the grocery store, in the political realm. I strive to put my jumbled, chaotic thoughts down onto paper -- reducing them into black and white rows, letters, sentences. Into some semblance of sanity. And I share them here with all of you, where I can challenge you, make you think, and cause you to ask questions. I am the oldest of eleven children living the country life in the deep south.

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