Scripture Verse

If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. John 16:7

Introduction

portrait
John B. Dykes
(1823–1876)

Words: Har­ri­et Au­ber, Spir­it of the Psalms 1829.

Music: St. Cuth­bert John B. Dykes, 1861 (🔊 pdf nwc). Dykes wrote the tune for these words.

portrait
Harriet Auber
(1773–1862)

Auber was sit­ting in her bed­room one day, look­ing out the win­dow, med­i­tat­ing on a ser­mon she had heard that morn­ing, when an idea for a hymn po­em came to her. Not hav­ing pen or pa­per near­by, she took off her di­a­mond ring and etched the vers­es on the win­dow.

The hymn was there for ma­ny years af­ter­ward, but un­for­tun­ate­ly, the pane was cut out and stol­en af­ter her death. Iron­ic­al­ly, the sub­ject of the hymn is the in­ner working of the Ho­ly Spir­it, a work that is large­ly in­vi­si­ble, though we can see its out­ward ef­fects. An ether­e­al mes­sage scratched on glass seems a fit­ting em­blem for it.

Lyrics

Our blest Redeemer, ere He breathed
His tender last farewell,
A guide, a comforter, bequeathed
With us to dwell.

He came in semblance of a dove,
With sheltering wings outspread,
The holy balm of peace and love
On earth to shed.

He came in tongues of living flame
To teach, convince, subdue,
All powerful as the wind He came
As viewless too.

He came sweet influence to impart,
A gracious, willing guest,
While He can find one humble heart
Wherein to rest.

And His that gentle voice we hear,
Soft as the breath of even,
That checks each fault, that calms each fear,
And speaks of Heav’n.

And every virtue we possess,
And every conquest won,
And every thought of holiness,
Are His alone.

Spirit of purity and grace,
Our weakness, pitying, see:
O make our hearts Thy dwelling place
And worthier Thee.