O God, unseen, but not unknown,
Thine eye is ever fix'd on me;
I dwell beneath Thy secret throne,
Encompass'd by Thy Deity.
Throughout this universe of space,
To nothing am I long allied,
For flight of time and change of place,
My strongest, dearest bonds divide.
Parents I had, but where are they?
Friends whom I knew, I know no more;
Companions, once that cheer'd my way,
Have dropp'd behind or gone before.
Now I am one amidst a crowd
Of life and action hurrying round;
Now left alone,--for, like a cloud,
They came, they went, and are not found.
Even from myself sometimes I part:
Unconscious sleep is nightly death,
Yet surely by my couch Thou art,
To prompt my pulse, inspire my breath.
Of all that I have done and said,
How little can I now recall:
Forgotten things to me are dead;
With Thee they live,--Thou know'st them all.
Thou hast been with me from the womb,
Witness to every conflict here;
Nor wilt Thou leave me at the tomb,
Before Thy bar I must appear.
The moment comes-- the only one
Of all my time to be foretold;
Yet when, and how, and where, can none
Among the race of man unfold:--
The moment comes, when strength shall fail,
When, (health and hope and courage flown)
I must go down into the vale
And shade of death with Thee alone.
Alone with Thee!--in that dread strife
Uphold me through mine agony,
And gently be this dying life
Exchanged for immortality.
Then, when the unbodied spirit lands
Where flesh and blood have never trod,
And in the unveil'd presence stands,
Of Thee, my Saviour and my God;--
Be mine eternal portion this,
Since Thou wert always here with me,
--That I may view Thy face in bliss,
And be for evermore with Thee.
Sacred Poems and Hymns
O God unseen, but not unknown. J. Montgomery. [Omniscience of the Father.] Written "Sep. 22, 1828" (M. MSS.). A copy, dated "The Mount, n. Sheffield, Dec. 16, 1845," appeared in the Christian Treasury, 1847, p. 7. It had previously appeared in the Evangelical Magazine, 1846, p. 187. In 1853 it was included in Montgomery's Original Hymns, No. 30, in 9 stanzas of 12 lines, and headed, “Thou, God, seest me." It is in common use in an abbreviated form, and also as "The moment comes, when strength shall fail," in the American Sabbath Hymn Book, 1858.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)