Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.@Ecclesiastes 12:1
George J. Elvey (1816–1893)
© National Portrait Gallery

Walter J. Mathams, 1913.

Diademata George J. Elvey, in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1868 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Some years ago, writes the author, Dr. Carey Bonner, eminent English publisher and composer of hymns for children and youth, asked me to listen to a hymn on which he wished my opinion. After he had read it to me I said, ‘That seems a good hymn for the purpose for which it was written.’ He then asked, ‘Have you seen it before?’ to which I replied, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ He rejoined, ‘Why, man, you wrote it yourself some years ago, and it has been recently brought to my notice!’

The incident set Mr. Mathams’ mind to working and later he recalled how, under the pressure of his busy life, the hymn was written for use among young people in Christian Endeavor and Sunday School Conventions. It was introduced to America by Grace Wilbur Conant, in her Worship and Song, a well known Church School hymnal, published in 1913.

Laufer, p. 84

Walter J. Mathams (1853–1931)

Now in the days of youth,
When life flows fresh and free,
Thou Lord of all our hearts and lives,
We give ourselves to Thee;
Our fervent gift receive,
And fit us to fulfill,
Through all our days, in all our ways,
Our heavenly Father’s will.

Teach us where’er we live,
To act as in Thy sight,
And do what Thou wouldst have us do
With radiant delight;
Not choosing what is great,
Nor spurning what is small,
But taking from Thy hands our tasks
To glorify them all.

Teach us to love the true,
The beautiful and pure,
And let us not for one short hour
An evil thought endure.
And give us grace to stand
Decided, brave, and strong,
The lovers of all holy things,
The foes of all things wrong.

Spirit of Christ, do Thou
Our first bright days inspire,
That we may live the life of love
And loftiest desire;
And be by Thee prepared
For larger years to come;
And for the life ineffable,
Within the Father’s home.