For you do not know when the master…comes.@Mark 13:35

Eliz­a­beth H. Reed, in The Hymn Book, 1842.

J. Cal­vin Bu­shey (1847–1929) (🔊 pdf nwc).

A tram-car man was pass­ing along the broad­way at Dept­ford, Eng­land, where some Chris­tians were sing­ing at an open-air meet­ing. Oh, do not let the Word de­part… He felt the force of the ap­peal and hast­ened home to pray. Though he knelt down and plead ear­nest­ly, no light, or peace, or rest came.

A fort­night passed away in this state of un­cer­tain­ty, and on the fol­low­ing Sun­day he was so mis­er­a­ble that he could not go to his work on the tram-car. In the ev­en­ing he went to a cha­pel and re­mained for the pray­er-meet­ing.

The lead­er of the open-air meet­ing, in which the hymn was sung a fort­night be­fore, hap­pened to be pre­sent, and he saw the young man weep­ing and cov­er­ing his face with his hand­ker­chief. Pray­ing the Lord to give him a word for this trou­bled soul, the lead­er asked him, Are you trust­ing Christ? No, but I am seek­ing Him, the man re­plied. And there he found Him, to the joy of his soul.

Thus, in the prov­i­dence of God, the Chris­tian work­er who was the cause of pro­duc­ing the an­xi­ety, with­out know­ing at the time any of the cir­cum­stanc­e­s, was al­so the means of re­mov­ing it. This is but one of the num­er­ous in­stanc­es of the use­ful­ness of Why not To-night? in evan­gel­is­tic meet­ings.

Sankey, pp. 307–08

O do not let the Word depart,
And close thine eyes against the light;
Poor sinner, harden not your heart,
Be saved, O tonight.

Refrain

O why not tonight?
O why not tonight?
Wilt thou be saved?
Then why not tonight?

Tomorrow’s sun may never rise
To bless thy long deluded sight;
This is the time, O then be wise,
Be saved, O tonight.

Refrain

Our Lord in pity lingers still,
And wilt thou thus His love requite?
Renounce at once thy stubborn will,
Be saved, O tonight.

Refrain

Our blessèd Lord refuses none
Who would to Him their souls unite;
Believe on Him, the work is done,
Be saved, O tonight.

Refrain

Another adaptation, from Sal­va­tion Ar­my Music (Lon­don: Sal­va­tion Ar­my Book Department, 1900), set to Confidence (Youens) (🔊 pdf nwc):

Oh, do not let thy Lord depart,
And close thine eyes against the light;
Poor sinner, harden not thy heart;
Thou wouldst be saved—why not tonight?
Thou wouldst be saved—why not tonight?

Tomorrow’s sun may never rise
To bless thy long-deluded sight;
This is the time!—oh, then, be wise!
Thou wouldst be saved—why not tonight?
Thou wouldst be saved—why not tonight?

Our God in pity lingers still;
Oh, wilt thou thus His love requite?
Renounce at length thy stubborn will—
Thou wouldst be saved—why not tonight?
Thou wouldst be saved—why not tonight?

Our blessèd Lord refuses none
Who would to Him their souls unite;
Then be the work of grace begun:
Thou wouldst be saved—why not tonight?
Thou wouldst be saved—why not tonight?