While, with ceaseless course, the sun

Full Text

1 While with ceaseless course the sun
Hasted through the former year,
Many souls their race have run;
Never more to meet us here:
Fix'd in an eternal state,
They have done with all below:
We a little longer wait,
But how little, none can know.

2 As the wing├Ęd arrow flies
Speedily the mark to find;
As the lightning from the skies
Darts, and leaves no trace behind;
Swiftly thus our fleeting days
Bear us down life's rapid stream;
Upward, Lord, our spirits raise;
All below is but a dream.

3 Thanks for mercies past receive;
Pardon of our sins renew;
Teach us henceforth how to live
With eternity in view:
Bless Thy word to young and old;
Fill us with a Saviour's love;
And when life's short tale is told,
May we dwell with Thee above.

Hymnal: according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, 1871

Author: John Newton

Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years' schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: While, with ceaseless course, the sun
Author: John Newton
Meter: D
Language: English


While with ceaseless course the sun. J. Newton. [New Year.] Published in his Twenty Six Letters on Religious Subjects, &c, by Omicron, 1774, in 3 stanzas of 8 lines, and headed, "For the New Year." It was repeated in R. Conyer's Psalms & Hymns the same year, and again in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. ii., No. 1. It is in extensive use in Great Britain and America. In some collections stanzas ii., iii. are given as, "As the winged arrow flies," but this is not so popular as the full text.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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