Scripture Verse

The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.@Exodus 13:21

Introduction

portrait
James Montgomery
(1771–1854)

Words: James Mont­gom­e­ry. First print­ed on a broad­sheet for use at the An­ni­ver­sa­ry Ser­mons, on be­half of the Red Hill Sun­day School, Shef­field, Eng­land, March 28, 1819. The Chris­tian Is­ra­el.

Music: Brecknock Sam­u­el S. Wes­ley, Eu­ro­pe­an Psalm­ist 1875 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

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Israelites Led by the Pillar of Fire by Night
William West, 1845

Lyrics

Thus far on life’s bewildering path,
Thus far, Thou, Lord, our steps hast led;
Snatched from the world’s pursuing wrath,
Unharmed, though floods hung o’er our head;
Like ransomed Israel on the shore,
Here, then, we pause, look back, adore.

Strangers and pilgrims here below,
Like all our fathers in their day,
We to the land of promise go,
Lord, by Thine own appointed way:
Still guide, illumine, cheer our flight,
In cloud by day, in fire by night.

Safety Thy presence is, and rest;
While—as the eagle, o’er her brood
Flutters her pinions, stirs the nest,
Covers, defends, provides them food,
Bears on her wings, instructs to fly—
Thy love prepares us for the sky.

Protect us through the wilderness
From fiery tempest, plague, and foe;
With bread from Heav’n Thy people bless,
And living streams where’er we go:
Nor let our rebel hearts repine,
Or follow any voice but Thine.

Thy holy law to us proclaim,
But not from Sinai’s top alone;
Hid in the rock cleft, be Thy name,
Thy power and all Thy goodness shown;
And may we never bow the knee,
Or worship any God but Thee.

When we have numbered all our years,
And stand, at length, on Jordan’s brink,
Though the flesh fail with mortal fears,
O let not then the spirit sink;
But, strong in faith, and hope, and love,
Plunge through the stream to rise above.