The Time Is Very Near

The time is very near
When, Lord, Thou wilt be here
The signs whereof Thou’st spoken
Thine advent should betoken,
We’ve seen them oft fulfilling
In number beyond telling.

What shall I do then, Lord?
But rest upon Thy word,
The promise Thou hast given
That Thou wilt come from heaven,
Me from the grave deliver
And from all woe for ever.

Ah! Jesus Christ, how fair
Wilt be my portion there!
The welcome Thou’lt address me,
Thy glances, how they’ll bless me,
When I the earth forsaking,
My flight to Thee am taking.

Ah! what will be the word
Thou’lt speak, my Shepherd Lord!
What will be then Thy greeting,
Me and my brethren meeting?
Thy members Thou wilt own us,
And near Thyself enthrone us.

And in that blessed hour,
How shall I have the pow’r
Mine eyelids dry of keeping,
How tears of joy from weeping
Refrain, that flowing over
My cheeks, like floods would cover?

And what a beauteous light
Will from Thy face so bright
Beam on me, then in heaven,
When sight of Thee is given,
Thy goodness then me filling,
Joy will my breast be swelling.

I’ll see then and adore
Thy body bruised sore,
Whereon our faith is founded,
The prints of nails that wounded
Thy hands and feet be greeting,
Thy gaze with rapture meeting.

Thou, Lord, alone dost know
The joys so pure that flow
In life’s unfailing river
In paradise for ever,
Thou can’st portray, and show them:
By faith alone I know them.

What I’ve believ’d stands sure,
Remaineth aye secure;
My part the wealth surpasseth;
The richest here amasseth;
All other wealth decayeth
My portion ever stayeth.

My God, my fairest Part!
How will my bounding heart
With joy be overflowing,
Praise evermore renewing,
When through the door of heaven
By Thee is entrance given?

Thou’lt say, “Come, taste and see,
Oh! child, belov’d by me,
Come, taste the gifts so precious
I and my Father gracious
Have to bestow, come hither,
In pleasure bask for ever.”

Alas! thou world so poor!
Of wealth, what is thy store?
Mean is it to be holden,
Compar’d with all the golden
Crowns and thrones Jesus placeth
For whom He loves and graceth.

Here is the angel’s home,
Bless’d spirits hither come,
Here nought is heard but singing,
Nought seen but joy up-springing,
No cross, no death, no sorrow,
No parting on the morrow.

Hold! hold! my sense so weak!
What dost thou think and speak,
What’s fathomless, art sounding?
What’s measureless, art bounding?
Here must man’s wit be bending
The eloquent be ending.

Lord! I delight in Thee,
Thou ne’er shalt go from me,
Thy hand in bounty giveth
More than my heart conceiveth,
Or I can e’er be counting,
So high Thy mercy’s mounting.

How sad, O Lord, am I,
Until I from on high
See Thee in glory hither
Come, Thine own to deliver,
Wert Thou but now revealing
Thyself! my wish fulfilling!

The time is known to Thee;
It best becometh me
To be prepar’d for going,
And all things so be doing,
That every moment even
My heart may be in Heaven.

This grant, Lord, and me bless.
That so Thy truth and grace
May keep me ever waking,
That Thy day not o’ertaking
Me unawares, affright me,
But may, O Lord! delight me.

Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs,