Ere the Sun Goes Down

“ERE THE SUN GOES DOWN”

“…The sun knoweth his going down” (Ps. 104:19)

    INTRO.:  A hymn which likens the going down of the sun to the end of life is “Ere the Sun Goes Down.”  The text was written by Josephine Pollard (1834-1892).  Born in New York City, NY, she was a poet, author, and hymn-writer.  She produced several one-syllable history books for children in the 1880’s, as well as numerous juvenile Biblical stories.  Among her one-syllable history books are The Life of George Washington, The History of the United States, and Our Naval Heroes.  Her titles are very popular with homeschoolers and parents as a way to promote reading.  Also, she provided texts for several hymns, such as “Beyond the Sunset’s Radiant Glow,” “I stood outside the gate,” and “Joy-bells ringing, Children singing” which appeared in Ira D. Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos of 1878.  I do not have a date or source of publication for “Ere the Sun Goes Down.”   The tune was composed by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921).  The only hymnbook in which I have seen the song is in the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 published by The Gospel Advocate Co., where arrangements of both the text, titled “Till the Sun Goes Down” and beginning “There is work enough to do,” under the pseudonym of Vana R. Raye, and of the tune were made by editor Lloyd Otis Sanderson (1901-1992).

The song suggests several things that we need to do before the sun of our lives goes down.

I.  Stanza 1 mentions work

I have work enough to do,

Ere the sun goes down,

For myself and kindred too,

Ere the sun goes down:

Every idle whisper stilling

With a purpose firm and willing,

All my daily tasks fulfilling,

Ere the sun goes down.

  1. We must do God’s works while it is day before the night comes: Jn. 9:4
  2. One such work is learning to still every idle word: Matt. 12:36
  3. Like all servants, our daily tasks should be fulfilled heartily, as unto the Lord: Col. 3:22-23

II. Stanza 2 mentions learning to control our anger

I must overcome my wrath

Ere the sun goes down;

I must walk the heavenly path

Ere the sun goes down.

For it may be death is wending

Hither, with the night descending,

And my life will have an ending,

Ere the sun goes down.

  1. We need to control our anger because the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God: Jas. 1:19-20
  2. Also, walking the heavenly way means putting away anger and wrath: Col. 3:8-10
  3. And we need to work on this now because death is wending: Heb. 9:27

III. Stanza 3 mentions helping others

I must speak the loving word,

Ere the sun goes down.

I must let my voice be heard,

Ere the sun goes down:

Every cry of pity heeding,

For the injured interceding,

To the light the lost ones leading,

Ere the sun goes down.

  1. We should speak a loving word to comfort others: 2 Cor. 1:3-4
  2. We should also heed each cry of pity even to giving a cup of cold water: Matt. 10:42
  3. One purpose of helping others in these ways is to lead lost ones by letting our lights shine: Matt. 5:14-16

IV.  Stanza 4 mentions obedience

As I journey on my way,

Ere the sun goes down,

God’s commands I must obey,

Ere the sun goes down.

There are sins that need confessing;

There are wrongs that need redressing

If I would obtain the blessing,

Ere the sun goes down.

  1. Loving God means obeying His commands: Jn. 14:15
  2. One command is to confess our sins: 1 Jn. 1:9
  3. Another is to redress wrongs and be reconciled: Matt. 5:23-24

CONCL.: Here is Sanderson’s version:

  1. There is work enough to do

Ere the sun goes down;

Time is swiftly passing too—

Soon the sun goes down.

Every idle whisper stilling,

Every purpose firm and willing,

Every Christian task fulfilling,

Till  the sun goes down.

  1. We must love in word and deed

Till the sun goes down;

Erring ones must hear and heed

Ere the sun goes down.

With the message swiftly speeding,

For the injured interceding,

To the light the lost ones leading,

Ere the sun goes down.

  1. We must go the narrow way

Till the sun goes down;

God’s commands we must obey

Till the sun goes down.

Every day the Lord confessing,

With true hearts our wrongs redressing,

If we would obtain the blessing

When the sun goes down.

Just as surely as the sun sinks into the west each day, so each one’s life will inevitably come to its end.  Preparing for death and eternity means doing our very best to accomplish what the Lord wants from us “Ere the Sun Goes Down.”

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