At every motion [moment] of our breath

At every motion [moment] of our breath

Author: James Montgomery
Published in 21 hymnals

Representative Text

At every motion of our breath,
Life trembles on the brink of death,
A taper's flame that upward turns,
While downward to the dust it burns.

A moment usher'd us to birth,
Heirs to the commonwealth of earth;
Moment by moment years are past,
And one ere long will be our last.

'Twixt that, long fled, which gave us light,
And that which soon shall end in night,
There is a point no eye can see,
Yet on it hangs eternity.

This is that moment,--who can tell
Whether it leads to heaven or hell?
This is that moment,--as we choose,
The immortal soul we save or lose.

Time past and time to come are not;
Time present is our only lot;
O God! henceforth our hearts incline
To seek no other love than thine.

Sacred Poems and Hymns

Author: James Montgomery

James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: At every motion [moment] of our breath
Author: James Montgomery
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


At every motion of our breath. J. Montgomery. [Value of Time.] Published in his Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 512, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines and headed, "The Value of a Moment." In 1853 it was repeated in his Original Hymns, No. 224, but is not amongst the “M. MSS." It is usually given in an abbreviated form. In J. H. Thorn's Hymns, Chants, &c, 1858, it is in 3 stanzas, and in the Scottish Evangelical Union Hymnal, 1878, there are 4 stanzas.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Instances (1 - 21 of 21)
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A Collection of Spiritual Hymns #459

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A New Selection of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs #930

A Prayer Meeting and Revival Hymn Book . 27th ed. #d33

Association Songs No.1 #d13

Christian Psalms and Hymns to Aid in Public and Private Devotion #d73

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Hymns for Youth, Suitable to be Used in Sabbath and Parochial Schools #S10

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Hymns of the Church Militant #258


Sacred Poems and Hymns #224

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Social Hymns, and Spiritual Songs #429

Templi Carmina #d14

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The Brethren Hymnal #543

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The Camp-Meeting Chorister #150


The Christian Hymnary. Bks. 1-4 #567

The Church Hymn Book #d60

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The Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs of the Rev. Isaac Watts, D. D. #D286

The Saints' Harp #d89

The Southern Psalmist #d50

The Southern Psalmist. New ed. #d55

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