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
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)