Scripture Verse

Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. Exodus 19:18


Luther O. Emerson (1820–1915)

Words: Ben­ja­min Bed­dome (1717–1795). Pub­lished post­hu­mous­ly in Hymns Adapt­ed to Pub­lic Wor­ship (Lon­don: Bu­rton & Briggs, 1818), num­ber 337. Si­nai and Si­on.

Music: As­crip­tion Lu­ther O. Em­er­son, 1866 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Bed­dome (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


When God des­cends, a stream­ing fire
Attends Him through the sky;
Thick clouds com­pose His dark at­tire,
And vi­vid light­nings fly.

Impervious wreaths of smoke sur­round,
And hide His aw­ful seat;
Incessant thun­ders roar around,
Or mur­mur at His feet.

’Twas thus on Si­nai’s lof­ty hill,
Jehovah once ap­peared;
The trum­pet loud pro­claimed His will,
And trem­bling Is­ra­el heard.

They trem­bling heard, but straight for­got
The ter­rors of the day;
They scarce­ly left the aw­ful spot,
Before they went as­tray.

Their so­lemn vows they soon re­voke,
False and un­grate­ful prove;
Forget the tem­pest, fire and smoke,
Their mak­er’s wrath and love.

What Si­nai’s ter­rors ne’er could do,
That Si­on’s God per­forms;
’Tis He cre­ates our hearts anew,
And strength­ens fee­ble worms.

He gent­ly leads our wan­der­ing souls
In paths of right­eous­ness;
And all our pass­ions He con­trols,
By His all-pow­er­ful grace.

From Si­nai we to Si­on fly,
The ci­ty of our God;
Unawed and fear­less we draw nigh,
And make it our abode.