1 Lord, Thou hast been thy people’s rest
Through all their generations,
Their refuge when by danger prest,
Their hope in tribulations;
Thou, ere the mountains sprang to birth,
Or ever Thou hadst form'd the earth,
Art God from everlasting.
2 The sons of men return to clay,
When Thou the word hast spoken,
As with a torrent borne away,
Gone like a dream when broken:
A thousand years are, in thy sight,
But as a watch amid the night,
Or yesterday departed.
3 At morn, we flourish like the grass
With dew and sunbeams lighted,
But ere the cool of evening pass,
The rich array is blighted:
Thus do thy chastisements consume
Youth's tender leaf and beauty's bloom;
We fade at thy displeasure.
4 Our life is like the transient breath
That tells a mournful story,
Early or late, stopt short by death;
And where is all our glory?
Our days are threescore years and ten,
And if the span be lengthen'd then,
Their strength is toil and sorrow.
5 Lo, Thou hast set before thine eyes
All our misdeeds and errors;
Our secret sins from darkness rise,
At thine awakening terrors:
Who shall abide the trying hour?
Who knows the thunder of thy power?
We flee unto thy mercy.
6 Lord, teach us so to mark our days,
That we may prize them duly;
So guide our feet in Wisdom's ways,
That we may love Thee truly:
Return, O Lord, our griefs behold,
And with thy goodness, as of old,
O satisfy us early.
7 Restore our comforts as our fears,
Our joy as our affliction;
Give to thy Church, through changing years,
Thy glorious beauty there reveal,
And with thy perfect image seal
Thy servants and their labours.
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 >
Lord, Thou hast been Thy people's rest. J. Montgomery. [Psalms xc.] Appeared in his Songs of Zion, 1822, in 7 stanzas of 7 lines. In his Original Hymns, 1853, stanzas i., iv., v. and vi. are given as hymn No. xlvi. In Dr. Kennedy's Psalter, 1860, a cento was given as the version of Psalms xc, and is thus composed:—
Stanzas i.. ii., and v., J. Montgomery.
Stanzas iii., iv., and vi., Dr. Kennedy.
Dr. Kennedy's Hymnologia Christiana, No. 9, in two parts is this same text repeated with the addition of a doxology to Pt. i. In the Preface to this collection, the portion of this rendering of Psalms xc. taken from Montgomery is attributed to the Rev. A. T. Russell in error.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
(See Full Text of text authority for text from Songs of Zion, 1822.)
The tune name ALLEIN GOTT derives from the opening words of Decius's rhymed text in High German. The tune was first published in Schumann's Geistliche Lieder. Decius adapted the tune from a tenth-century Easter chant for the Gloria text, beginning at the part accompanying the words "et in terra pax.…
Display Title: Lord, Thou Hast Been Thy People's RestFirst Line: Lord, Thou hast been Thy people’s restTune Title: GOLDEN CHAINAuthor: Benjamin H. KennedyMeter: 87.87.887Source: Hymnologia Christiana (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1863)