And so shall we ever be with the Lord.@1 Thessalonians 4:17
Ellen M. Gates (1835–1920)

Ellen M. H. Gates, in Gospel Hymns No. 2, edited by Philip P. Bliss & Ira D. Sankey (Cincinnati/Chicago/New York: John Church/Biglow & Main, 1876, number 79).

Philip P. Bliss (🔊 pdf nwc).

Having carried in my pocket for several months the words of the hymn Eternity, which the author, Ellen M. H. Gates, had sent me, I handed them, one day in Chicago [Illinois] in 1876, to my friend P. P. Bliss, asking him to write music for them. Three days later he had composed the tune.

The hymn was much used at our meetings both in Great Britain and the United States. Before singing it, I used to tell the story of Robert Annan, of Dundee, Scotland. He was one of the worst men who ever lived in that town, but after having been converted became one of the most useful missionaries of the place. On leaving his little cottage home one morning to go to his mission work, he took a piece of chalk from his pocket and wrote on the flagstone of the walk which led to his house the single word Eternity. A few minutes later he saw a child fall from one of the vessels in the harbor. Being a bold, strong swimmer, he threw off his coat and shoes, and plunged into the bay. He saved the child, but at the cost of his own life. His body was carried home over the word Eternity, which he had written a few hours before. On my last visit to Scotland, about five years ago, I went to see his widow, and found that the writing had been cut into the stone by direction of the Honorable James Gordon, the Earl of Aberdeen. Thousands go to see it every year. Mr. Annan’s minister took me to the beautiful cemetery at the place, where a fine monument ten feet high, marks the last resting-place of the hero.

Sankey, pp. 138–39

Philip P. Bliss (1838–1876)

Oh, the clanging bells of time!
Night and day they never cease;
We are wearied with their chime,
For they do not bring us peace;
And we hush our breath to hear,
And we strain our eyes to see
If thy shores are drawing near,
Eternity! Eternity!

Oh, the clanging bells of time!
Now their changes rise and fall,
But in under tone sublime,
Sounding clearly through them all,
Is a voice that must be heard,
As our moments onward flee,
And it speaketh, aye, one word,
Eternity! Eternity!

Oh, the clanging bells of time!
To their voices, loud and low,
In a long, unresting line
We are marching to and fro;
And we yearn for sight or sound,
Of the life that is to be,
For thy breath doth wrap us round,
Eternity! Eternity!

Oh, the clanging bells of time!
Soon their notes will all be dumb,
And in joy and peace sublime,
We shall feel the silence come;
And our souls their thirst will slake,
And our eyes the King will see,
When thy glorious morn shall break,
Eternity! Eternity!