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Samuel Longfellow: Hymns


God of the earth, the sky, the sea;

Maker of all above, below:

Creation lives in You and me;

Your present life through all does flow.

Your love is in the sunshine’s glow;

Your life is in the quickening air;

When lightnings flash and storm-winds blow,

There is Your power, Your law is there.

We feel Your calm at evening’s hour,

Your grandeur in the march of night;

And when the morning breaks in power,

We hear Your word, “Let there be light!”

But higher far, and far more clear,

You in our spirit we behold;

Your image and Yourself are there —

Indwelling God, proclaimed of old.



Light of ages and of nations,

Every race and every time

Has received Your inspirations,

Glimpses of Your truth sublime.

Always spirits in rapt vision

Passed the heavenly veil within,

Always hearts bowed in contrition

Found salvation from their sin.

Reason’s noble aspiration

Truth in growing clearness saw;

Conscience spoke its condemnation,

Or proclaimed the eternal law.

While Your inward revelations

Told Your saints their prayers were heard,

Prophets to the guilty nations

Spoke Your everlasting word.

Lo, that word abides forever;

Revelation is not sealed;

Answering now to our endeavor,

Truth and right are still revealed.

That which came to ancient sages,

Greek, Barbarian, Roman, Jew,

Written in the soul’s deep pages,

Shines today forever new.



“Tis winter now: the fallen snow

Has left the heav’ns all coldly clear;

Thro’ leafless boughs the sharp winds blow,

And all the earth lies dead and drear.

O God, Your love is not withdrawn:

Your life within the keen air breathes;

Your beauty paints the crimson dawn,

And clothes the boughs with glitt’ring wreaths.

And though abroad the sharp winds blow,

And skies are chill, and frosts are keen,

Home closer draws her circle now,

And warmer glows her light within.

O God, who gives the winter’s cold,

As well as summer’s joyous rays,

Us warmly in Your love enfold

And keep us through life’s wintry days.

Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892) was a Unitarian minister and hymn writer whose sermons and lyrics reflected his transcendentalism. He served churches in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania and published four hymnals and a biography of his brother, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


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