ABIDE WITH ME
Suggested topics: closing, comfort, evening, Jesus Christ--Friend, Jesus
Suggested occasion: funeral
1. 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, oh, abide with me!
2. 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!
3. 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, Lord, abide with me!
Luke 24: 29
29 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.
John 15: 4-12
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
"The author of the hymn, Henry Francis Lyte, was an Anglican priest and vicar of All Saints Church in Brixham, England. He was also a published poet and accomplished hymnwriter who also penned “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” and “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.”. For most of his life Lyte suffered from poor health, and he would regularly travel abroad for relief, as was the tradition in that day. Nevertheless, he developed tuberculosis and, at the age of 54, came near to the end of his life. His daughter, Anna Maria Maxwell Hogg, recounts the story of how “Abide with Me” came out of that context.
'The summer was passing away, and the month of September (that month in which he was once more to quit his native land) arrived, and each day seemed to have a special value as being one day nearer his departure.
His family were surprised and almost alarmed at his announcing his intention of preaching once more to his people. His weakness and the possible danger attending the effort, were urged to prevent it, but in vain. “It was better”, as he used to say often playfully, when in comparative health, “to wear out than to rust out”. He felt that he should be enabled to fulfil his wish, and feared not for the result. His expectation was well founded. He did preach, and amid the breathless attention of his hearers, gave them a sermon on the Holy Communion. . . .
In the evening of the same day he placed in the hands of a near and dear relative the little hymn, ‘Abide with Me’, with an air of his own composing, adapted to the words.' (A Dictionary of Hymnology, Vol. 1)
Just weeks later, while on holiday in Nice, France, Henry Lyte went to be with Jesus. It was November 20th, 1847.
Not many hymns have dramatic stories behind them. This one is not all that dramatic; but knowing that it was written by a man who was very near death at a relatively young age helps us feel its weight and sobriety all the more."
LDS hymn number: 166
Music: William Henry Monk, 1823-1889
Text: Henry Francis Lyte, 1793-1847
Meter: 10 10 10 10
"Henry Francis Lyte, M.A., son of Captain Thomas Lyte, was born at Ednam, near Kelso, June 1, 1793, and educated at Portora (the Royal School of Enniskillen), and at Trinity College, Dublin, of which he was a Scholar, and where he graduated in 1814. During his University course he distinguished himself by gaining the English prize poem on three occasions. At one time he had intended studying Medicine; but this he abandoned for Theology, and took Holy Orders in 1815, his first curacy being in the neighbourhood of Wexford. In 1817, he removed to Marazion, in Cornwall. There, in 1818, he underwent a great spiritual change, which shaped and influenced the whole of his after life, the immediate cause being the illness and death of a brother clergyman. Lyte says of him:--
'He died happy under the belief that though he had deeply erred, there was One whose death and sufferings would atone for his delinquencies, and be accepted for all that he had incurred;'
and concerning himself he adds:--
'I was greatly affected by the whole matter, and brought to look at life and its issue with a different eye than before; and I began to study my Bible, and preach in another manner than I had previously done.'
From Marazion he removed, in 1819, to Lymington, where he composed his Tales on the Lord's Prayer in verse (pub. in 1826); and in 1823 he was appointed Perpetual Curate of Lower Brixham, Devon. That appointment he held until his death, on Nov. 20, 1847. His Poems of Henry Vaughan, with a Memoir, were published in 1846."
"Composer William Henry Monk, born in 1823 in Brompton, is actually one of the most influential people in the development of hymn tunes as we know them today.
At age 18 he was first employed as a church organist, and served at a few different locations until 1852, when he began playing at St. Matthias Church in Stoke Newington, where he established a daily choral service with only a volunteer choir, and remained there until his death in 1889. He also taught music at various times at Bedford College, the National Training School for Music, The School for the Indigent Blind, and was a professor of music at Kings College.
Monk was intrigued by the Oxford Movement and especially the particular music requirements of high church liturgy. With some friends, he established a musical journal, The Parish Choir, and served as its editor for a time. Though the magazine only lasted three years, it was very influential in Anglo-Catholic circles, and probably led to Monk's employment as the first music editor of Hymns Ancient and Modern, which would eventually sell more than sixty million copies.
In that position, Monk was, in a sense, continuing the work of William Henry Havergal and Henry J. Gauntlett, who in addition to composing their own tunes, often arranged and harmonized tunes from earlier composers into the sort of four-part arrangements we still use today. Monk's own tunes were popular in his time (less so today) but his arrangements of such tunes as 'Ellacombe,' 'St. Magnus,' 'Victory,' and 'Dix' are still widely known and sung. Remember also that Hymns A&M was one of the earliest hymnals to print the texts and tunes together, which would eventually become the standard.
Monk remained with the Hymns A&M organization, at least in a consulting capacity, until his death, through the editions of 1861, 1868, 1875, and 1889 (his notes on that last edition were completed the day before he died). He also was the music editor of the following collections:
The Holy Year (by Christopher Wordsworth)
The Congregational Psalmist
Psalter, Hymnal, and Anthem Book of the Scottish Church
Book of Common Prayer, with Plainsong and Appropriate Music
Monk's most enduring tune [is] 'Eventide.' As he recalled the origin of the tune years later, it was realized at an 1861 committee meeting shortly before Hymns Ancient and Modern was going to the printer that they had no tune for Abide with me (writer Henry Francis Lyte's own tune was deemed unacceptable). Monk went out and wrote 'Eventide' in ten minutes. His wife, however, remembered it differently, telling the editor of The Music of the Methodist Hymn Book (1935) that he wrote it as they watched a beautiful sunset together. Perhaps she thought it was a better tale for posterity."