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SONGS OF ZION

I AM DEBTOR
When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o'er life's finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then - how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start and shrink
On the fiery deluge brink, -
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then - how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then - how much I owe.

When the praise of heav'n I hear,
Loud as thunder to the ear,
Loud as many water's noise,
Sweet as harp's melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then - how much I owe.

Even on earth, as through a glass
Darkly, let Thy glory pass,
Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
Make Thy Spirit's help so meet,
Even on earth, Lord, make me know
Something of how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Saviour's side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.

Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark, as midnight's gloomy shroud;
But, when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light;
Blessed Jesus! bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe.

When in flowery paths I tread,
Oft by sin I'm captive led;
Oft I fall - but still arise -
The Spirit comes - the tempter flies;
Blessed Spirit! bid me show
Weary sinners all I owe.

Oft the nights of sorrow reign -
Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
But a night Thine anger burns -
Morning comes and joy returns;
God of comforts! bid me show
To Thy poor, how much I owe.

May 1837.


This song may be sung as a hymn.
A suitable tune with which to accompany it
is "Wells" by Dimitri S. Bortnianski.

An alternative tune composed
by Sir Arthur Sullivan
(of Gilbert & Sullivan fame),
can be found on the website of
The Cyber Hymnal
under the title of the opening line,
"When this passing world"
with the music score and a MIDI file,
as well as M'Cheyne's poem.

The following item is listed in the British Library Catalogue:
Wade, Bryant Edwin. When this passing World is done. 
Sacred Song. ([Words by] R. M. McCheyne).
(Chicago : C. F. Summy Co, 1897.) H.1187.v.(42.) H


No. Song / Poem Title
1 The Barren Fig Tree
2 Jehovah Tsidekenu
3 The Sing the Song of Moses
4 On Mungo Park's Finding a Tuft of Green Moss in the African Desert
5 I am a Debtor
6 Children Called to Christ
7 Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet, and a Light Unto My Path
8 Fountain of Siloam
9 The Sea of Galilee
10 To Yonder Side
11 On the Mediterranean Sea in the Bay of Carmel
12 The Child Coming to Jesus
13 Oil in the Lamp
14 On J.T a Believing Boy