I am…the bright and morning Star. Revelation 22:16
Words: Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book 1, 1707, number 54.
God’s presence is light in darkness.
Music: Richmond (Haweis) Thomas Haweis, Carmina Christo 1792 (🔊 pdf nwc).
Montgomery speaks of this as ‘a hymn which would not have discredited Gray himself’ (Christian Psalmist). Milner describes the hymn in his Life of Watts as ‘almost without spot or blemish.’ A writer in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine calls it the very best Watts wrote, a hymn which breathes the ‘intense earnestness, and passionate, kindling fervour of Wesley himself. It is an effusion of irrepressible joy and triumphant faith.’
George Smith, of Coalville, the friend of the canal children, found peace as he sang this hymn in 1848, when he lay prostrate with cholera, face to face with death. When the light came into his soul, he sang, ‘In darkest shades, if Thou appear.’
Telford, p. 237
My God, the Spring of all my joys,
The Life of my delights,
The Glory of my brightest days,
And Comfort of my nights!
In darkest shades, if He appear,
My dawning is begun,
He is my soul’s bright morning star,
And He my rising sun.
The opening heav’ns around me shine,
With beams of sacred bliss,
While Jesus shows His heart is mine,
And whispers, I am His.
My soul would leave this heavy clay,
At that transporting word,
Run up with joy the shining way,
T’embrace my dearest Lord.
Fearless of hell and ghastly death,
I’d break through every foe;
The wings of love and arms of faith
Would bear me conqueror through.