This was one of those hymns I kept passing up in the hymnal, thinking, "I don't know that one." Well, it was time to get to know it. It's beautiful, partly because of the Mendelssohn tune. The tune is "Songs Without Words" opus 30, #3.
The words...Well, they were written when hymn lyrics were hymn lyrics. Fun fact: Anna Bartlett Warner, who wrote these lyrics, also wrote the words to "Jesus Loves Me." More verses here. Performance here.
1. We would see Jesus, for the shadows lengthen
Across this little landscape of our life;
We would see Jesus, our weak faith to strengthen
For the last weariness, the final strife.
2. We would see Jesus, the great rock foundation
Whereon our feet were set with sov’reign grace;
Nor life nor death, with all their agitation,
Can thence remove us, if we see His face.
3. We would see Jesus: sense is all too binding,
And heaven appears too dim, too far away;
We would see Thee, Thyself our hearts reminding
What Thou hast suffered, our great debt to pay.
4. We would see Jesus: this is all we’re needing;
Strength, joy, and willingness come with the sight;
We would see Jesus, dying, risen, pleading;
Then welcome day, and farewell mortal night.