Words: , Hymns and Spir­it­u­al Songs, 1707.

Music: Rich­mond (Ha­weis), , Car­mi­na Chris­to, 1792. Al­ter­nate tunes:

  • Azmon, , 1828; ar­ranged by , 1839
  • Paradise (Leav­itt), in the Christ­ian Lyre, by Jo­shua Leav­itt, vol­ume 2, 1831 (re­peats last line of each verse)

speaks of this as ‘a hymn which would not have dis­cred­it­ed Gray him­self’ (Christ­ian Psalm­ist). Mil­ner de­scribes the hymn in his Life of Watts as ‘al­most with­out spot or blem­ish.’ A writ­er in the Wes­ley­an Meth­od­ist Mag­a­zine calls it the ve­ry best Watts wrote, a hymn which breathes the ‘in­tense ear­nest­ness, and pas­sion­ate, kind­ling fer­vour of Wes­ley him­self. It is an ef­fu­sion of ir­re­press­i­ble joy and tri­umph­ant faith.’

George Smith, of Coal­ville, the friend of the ca­nal child­ren, found peace as he sang this hymn in 1848, when he lay pros­trate with chol­e­ra, face to face with death. When the light came into his soul, he sang, ‘In dark­est shades, if Thou ap­pear.’

My God, the Spring of all my joys,
The Life of my delights,
The Glory of my brightest days,
And Comfort of my nights!

In darkest shades, if He appear,
My dawning is begun,
He is my soul’s bright morning star,
And He my rising sun.

The opening heav’ns around me shine,
With beams of sacred bliss,
While Jesus shows His heart is mine,
And whispers, I am His.

My soul would leave this heavy clay,
At that transporting word,
Run up with joy the shining way,
T’embrace my dearest Lord.

Fearless of hell and ghastly death,
I’d break through every foe;
The wings of love and arms of faith
Would bear me conqueror through.