Scripture Verse

The gate of Heaven. Genesis 28:17


Charles C. Converse

Words: Will­iam L. Al­ex­an­der, 1865. The ag­ed be­liev­er at the gate of Hea­ven. Some hym­nals give the au­thor as John Guth­rie, but it seems like­ly this was for an adap­ta­tion: Both Ju­li­an and Ross cre­dit the words to Al­ex­an­der.

Music: Charles C. Con­verse, Sil­ver Wings (Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts and New York: Ol­iv­er Dit­son & Com­pa­ny / C. H. Dit­son & Com­pa­ny, 1870), num­ber 88 (🔊 pdf nwc).

William L. Alexander

I wrote it, writes Dr. Al­ex­an­der, af­ter an ev­en­ing spent with my ven­er­a­ble fa­ther, then near the end of his earthly pil­grim­age, and when he spoke much of his long­ing to de­part to and join those who had been the com­pan­ions of his pil­grim­age, but had pre­ced­ed him in­to the bet­ter land. (E. MS.)

In 1865 it was print­ed in the Sun­day Mag­azine in 5 stan­zas of 8 lines. From that mag­a­zine it first passed in­to a few Am­er­i­can hym­nals, and then in­to the 1874 Sup­ple­ment to the New Con­gre­ga­tion­al Hymn Book; the >Hym­nal Com­pan­ion, 1876, and oth­ers. It is the most po­pu­lar of Dr. Al­ex­an­der’s hymns.

Julian, p. 562


I’m kneeling at the threshold,
So weary, faint, and sore,
Waiting for the dawning,
The opening of the door;
I’m waiting till the Master
Shall bid me rise and come
To His all glorious presence,
The gladness of His home.


Kneeling at the threshold,
Weary, faint and sore;
Kneeling at the threshold,
My hand is at the door.

A weary path I’ve traveled,
’Mid darkness, storm and strife;
Bearing many a burden,
And struggling for my life;
But now the morn is breaking,
My toil will soon be o’er;
I’m kneeling at the threshold,
My hand is on the door.


Methinks I hear the voices
Of loved ones as they stand,
Singing in the sunshine,
In that fair sinless land:
Oh, would that I were with them,
Amid their shining throng,
And mingling in their worship,
And joining in their song!


The friends that started with me
Have entered long ago;
One by one they left me
Still struggling with the foe;
Their pilgrimage was shorter,
Their triumph surer won,
How lovingly they’ll hail me,
When all my toil is done.


With them the blessèd angels,
That know no grief or sin,
Standing by the portals,
Prepared to let me in;
O Lord, I wait Thy pleasure—
Thy time and way are best;
But I’m all worn and weary;
O Father, bid me rest!