ABIDE WITH ME
Henry F. Lyte, 1793–1847
But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to tarry with them. (Luke 24:29 KJV)
Yes, life is like the Emmaus road, and we tread it not alone
For beside us walks the Son of God, to uphold and keep His own.
And our hearts within us thrill with joy at His words of love and grace,
And the glorious hope that when day is done we shall see His blessed face.
The author of this text, Henry F. Lyte, was an Anglican pastor. Though he battled tuberculosis all of his life, Lyte was known as a man strong in spirit and faith. It was he who coined the phrase “it is better to wear out than to rust out.”
During his later years, Lyte’s health progressively worsened so that he was forced to seek a warmer climate in Italy. For the last sermon with his parishioners at Lower Brixham, England, on September 4, 1847, it is recorded that he nearly had to crawl to the pulpit. His final words made a deep impact upon his people when he proclaimed, “It is my desire to induce you to prepare for the solemn hour which must come to all, by a timely appreciation and dependence on the death of Christ.”
Henry Lyte’s inspiration for writing “Abide with Me” came shortly before his final sermon, while reading from the account in Luke 24 of our Lord’s appearance with the two disciples on their seven mile walk from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus on that first Easter evening. How the hearts of those discouraged disciples suddenly burned within them when they realized that they were in the company of the risen, the eternal Son of God!
Abide with me—fast falls the eventide. The darkness deepens—Lord, with me abide; when other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, O abide with me!
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see—O Thou who changest not, abide with me!
I need Thy presence ev’ry passing hour—What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r? Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be? Thru cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy word before my closing eyes. Shine thru the gloom and point me to the skies; heav’n’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee—In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
For Today: Psalm 139:7–12; Luke 24:13–35; 1 John 3:24
Relive the thrill expressed by the two Emmaus disciples when their spiritual eyes were opened and they first realized that they were in the presence of their risen Lord. Use this hymn to help—