One of the many instances of the power of this hymn has been recorded by Dr. Theodore L,. Cuyler: ”During my active pastorate I often got better sermons from my people than I ever gave them. I recall now a most touching and sublime scene that I once witnessed in the death-chamber of a noble woman who had suffered for many months from an excruciating malady. The end was drawing near. She seemed to be catching a fore gleam of the glory that awaited her. With tremulous tones she began to recite Henry Lyte's matchless hymn,' Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide.' One line after another was feebly repeated, until, with a rapturous sweetness, she exclaimed:
'Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes, Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies; Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee! In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.'
“As I came away from that room, which had been as the vestibule of heaven, I understood how the' light of eventide ' could be only a flashing forth of the overwhelming glory that plays forever around the throne of God."
Henry Francis Lyte wrote this hymn in 1847, 'n his fifty-fourth year, when he felt the eventide of life approaching. For twenty years he had ministered to a lowly congregation in Devonshire. He decided to spend the next winter in Italy, on account of rapidly declining health. On a Sunday in September—in weakness, and against the advice of his friends—he preached a farewell sermon to his much-loved people, and in the evening of the same day he wrote this immortal hymn. He died a few weeks later, his last words being ”Peace, joy!"