He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar. Psalm 99:7
Words: Gregory I (540–604) (Ecce jam noctis tenuatur umbra). The translation below appeared anonymously in Hedge and Huntington’s Hymns for the Church of Christ (Boston, Massachusetts: 1853). It may have been inspired by W. J. Copeland’s translation Lo, Now the Melting Shades of Night Are Ending (Hymns for the Week, 1848).
Now, when the dusky
Shades of night, retreating
Before the sun’s red banner, swiftly flee;
Now, when the terrors of the dark are fleeting,
O Lord, we lift our thankful hearts to Thee.
To Thee, whose Word,
The fount of light unsealing,
When hill and dale in thickest darkness lay,
Awoke bright rays across the dim earth stealing,
And bade the even and morn complete the day.
Look from the tower
Of Heaven, and send to cheer us,
Thy light and truth, to guide us onward still;
Still let Thy mercy, as of old, be near us,
And lead us safely to Thy holy hill.
In vain to labor,
Unless Thou be with him,
Man goeth forth through all the weary day;
In vain his strife, in vain his toil unceasing,
Unless Thy staff bring comfort on his way.
Thou, who hast made
The north and south, watch o’er us;
Thou, in whose name the lonely ones rejoice,
Still let Thy cloudy pillar glide before us,
Still let us listen for Thy warning voice.
So, when the morn
Of endless light is waking,
And shades of evil from its splendors flee,
Safe may we rise, the earth’s dark breast forsaking,
Through all the long bright day to dwell with Thee.