I. Hence, vain, intruding world depart,
No more allure or vex my heart;
Let ev'ry vanity begone,
I would be peaceful and alone.
II. Here let me search my inmost mind,
And try its real state to find,
The secret springs of thought explore,
And call my words and actions o'er.
III. Reflect how soon my life will end,
And think on what my hopes depend,
What aim my busy thoughts pursue,
What work is done, and what to do.
IV. Eternity is just at hand;
And shall I waste my ebbing sand,
And careless view departing day,
And throw my inch of time away?
V. Eternity, tremendous sound!
To guilty souls, a dreadful wound;
But oh! if Christ and heav'n be mine,
How sweet the accents! how divine!
VI. Be this my chief, my only care,
My high pursuit, my ardent pray'r,
An int'rest in the Saviour's blood,
My pardon seal'd, and peace with God.
VII. But should my brightest hopes be vain,
The rising doubt, how sharp its pain!
My fears, O gracious God, remove,
Confirm my title to thy love.
VIII. Search, Lord, O search my inmost heart,
And light, and hope, and joy impart;
From guilt and error set me free,
And guide me safe to heav'n and thee.
Source: Poems on Subjects Chiefly Devotional, Vol. 1 #124
Hence, vain intruding world, depart. Anne Steele. [Retirement and Reflection.] first published in her Poems on Subjects chiefly Devotional, 1760, vol. i. p. 124, in 8 stanzas of 4 lines, again in the new edition, 1780; and again in Sedgwick's reprint of her Hymns, 1863. In its full form it is not in common use, but an abridged form beginning with stanza iv., "Eternity is just at hand," appeared in the 2nd edition of Toplady's Psalms & Hymns, 1787, No. 410, and is repeated in several modern collections; but mainly in America.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)