Scripture Verse

This night thy soul shall be required of thee. Luke 12:20

Introduction

portrait
Peter P. Bilhorn
(1865–1936)

Words & Mu­sic: Pe­ter P. Bil­horn, 1892 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Anecdote

This hymn was sug­gest­ed by an in­ci­dent which oc­curred dur­ing a tent meet­ing con­duct­ed by the au­thor. One ev­en­ing the front seat was oc­cu­pied by a par­ty of young la­dies and gen­tle­men. One of the young men be­came an­xious about his soul and was per­son­al­ly in­vit­ed by the au­thor to ac­cept Christ. When about to rise, one of the young la­dies gave him a sig­nif­i­cant touch with her foot. This caused him to set­tle back, laugh­ing­ly shake his head and say, not to­night.

On their way home that night they de­ri­sive­ly re-en­act­ed the sol­emn scenes of the meet­ing. One played the preach­er, one the sing­er and the oth­ers would rise up for pray­er, weep, and then laugh­ing­ly say, not to­night. A stump caused the car­ri­age to up­set. The hors­es be­came fright­ened and ran away. The young man who be­came anx­ious about his soul but said, not to­night was killed.

Peter Bil­horn

Lyrics

Not tonight, so many say,
And turn from light and life away,
Alas! for some ’twill be too late;
Another night may seal their fate.

Refrain

Come tonight, O come tonight,
Jesus lovingly doth wait;
Come tonight, O come tonight,
Some other night may be too late.

Not tonight, a man replied,
And turned with careless laugh aside,
But death called loud that very night;
His soul in terror took its flight.

Refrain

Not tonight! O trembling heart,
Why longer bid thy Lord depart?
Why will you choose that bitter lot
To hear Him say, I know you not!

Refrain

Not tonight, O sad reply,
When Christ to save you waiteth nigh,
The day of grace may soon be past,
Your cry will be lost, lost at last!

Refrain

Not tonight, count well the cost,
Should you forevermore be lost?
If Heav’n and bliss you never see,
Where will you spend eternity?

Refrain