Time How Swift
While with ceaseless course the sun
Hasted through the former year,
Many souls their race have run,
Never more to meet us here;
Fixed in an eternal fate,
They have done with all below.
We a little longer wait,
But how little -- none can know.
As the winged 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.
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.
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound!)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
This earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be for ever mine.
The Believer's Safety (Ii)
That man no guard or weapons needs,
Whose heart the blood of Jesus knows;
But safe may pass, if duty leads,
Through burning sands or mountain snows.
Released from guilt he feels no fear,
Redemption is his shield and tow'r;
He sees his Saviour always near
To help, in every trying hour.
Though I am weak and Satan strong,
And often to assault me tries;
When Jesus is my shield and song,
Abashed the wolf before me flies.
His love possessing I am blest,
Secure whatever change may come;
Whether I go to East or West,
With him I still shall be at home.
If placed beneath the northern pole,
Though winter reigns with rigor there;
His gracious beams would cheer my soul,
And make a spring throughout the year.
Or if the deserts sun-burnt soil,
My lonely dwelling e'er should prove;
His presence would support my toil,
Whose smile is life, whose voice is love.
The Refuge, River, And Rock Of The Church
He who on earth as man was known,
And bore our sins and pains;
Now, seated on th' eternal throne,
The God of glory reigns.
His hands the wheels of nature guide
With an unerring skill;
And countless worlds extended wide,
Obey his sovereign will.
While harps unnumbered sound his praise,
In yonder world above;
His saints on earth admire his ways,
And glory in his love.
His righteousness, to faith revealed,
Wrought out for guilty worms,
Affords a hiding place and shield,
From enemies and storms.
This land, through which his pilgrims go,
Is desolate and dry;
But streams of grace from him o'erflow
Their thirst to satisfy.
When troubles, like a burning sun,
Beat heavy on their head;
To this almighty Rock they run,
And find a pleasing shade.
How glorious he! how happy they
In such a glorious friend!
Whose love secures them all the way,
And crowns them at the end.
Trust Of The Wicked, And The Righteous Compared
As parched in the barren sands
Beneath a burning sky,
The worthless bramble with'ring stands,
And only grows to die.
Such is the sinner's aweful case,
Who makes the world his trust;
And dares his confidence to place
In vanity and dust.
A secret curse destroys his root,
And dries his moisture up;
He lives awhile, but bears no fruit,
Then dies without a hope.
But happy he whose hopes depend
Upon the Lord alone;
The soul that trusts in such a friend,
Can ne'er be overthrown.
Though gourds should wither, cisterns break,
And creature-comforts die;
No change his solid hope can shake,
Or stop his sure supply.
So thrives and blooms the tree whose roots
By constant streams are fed;
Arrayed in green, and rich in fruits,
It rears its branching head.
It thrives, though rain should be denied,
And drought around prevail;
'Tis planted by a river's side
Whose waters cannot fail.
Joy And Peace In Believing
Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord who rises
With healing in his wings:
When comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining,
To cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation,
We sweetly then pursue
The theme of God's salvation,
And find it ever new:
Set free from present sorrow,
We cheerfully can say,
E'en let th' unknown to-morrow
Bring with it what it may.
It can bring with it nothing
But he will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing,
Will clothe his people too:
Beneath the spreading heavens,
No creature but is fed;
And he who feeds the ravens,
Will give his children bread.
Though vine nor fig-tree neither
Their wonted fruit shall bear,
Though all the field should wither,
Nor flocks nor herds be there:
Yet God the same abiding,
His praise shall tune my voice;
For while in him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice.
The Blasted Fig-Tree
One aweful word which Jesus spoke,
Against the tree which bore no fruit;
More piercing than the lightning's stroke,
Blasted and dried it to the root.
But could a tree the Lord offend,
To make him show his anger thus?
He surely had a farther end,
To be a warning word to us.
The fig-tree by its leaves was known,
But having not a fig to show;
It brought a heavy sentence down,
Let none hereafter on thee grow.
Too many, who the gospel hear,
Whom Satan blinds and sin deceives;
We to this fig-tree may compare,
They yield no fruit, but only leaves.
Knowledge, and zeal, and gifts, and talk,
Unless combined with faith and love,
And witnessed by a gospel walk,
Will not a true profession prove.
Without the fruit the Lord expects
Knowledge will make our state the worse;
The barren trees he still rejects,
And soon will blast them with his curse.
O Lord, unite our hearts in prayer!
On each of us thy Spirit send;
That we the fruits of grace may bear,
And find acceptance in the end.
A Garden contemplation suits,
And may instruction yield,
Sweeter than all the flow'rs and fruits
With which the spot is filled.
Eden was Adam's dwelling place,
While blest with innocence;
But sin o'erwhelmed him with disgrace,
And drove the rebel thence.
Oft as the garden-walk we tread,
We should bemoan his fall;
The trespass of our legal head
In ruin plunged us all.
The garden of Gethsemane,
The second Adam saw,
Oppressed with woe, to set us free
From the avenging law.
How stupid we, who can forget,
With gardens in our sight,
His agonies and bloody sweat,
In that tremendous night.
His church as a fair garden stands,
Which walls of love enclose;
Each tree is planted by his hand,
And by his blessing grows.
Believing hearts are gardens too,
For grace has sown its seeds;
Where once, by nature, nothing grew
But thorns and worthless weeds.
Such themes to those who Jesus love,
May constant joys afford;
And make a barren desert prove
The garden of the Lord.
Faith's Review And Expectation (Amazing Grace)
1 AMAZING grace! (how sweet the sound!)
2 That sav'd a wretch like me!
3 I once was lost, but now am found;
4 Was blind, but now I see.
5 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
6 And grace my fears reliev'd;
7 How precious did that grace appear,
8 The hour I first believ'd!
9 Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares,
10 I have already come;
11 'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
12 And grace will lead me home.
13 The Lord has promis'd good to me,
14 His word my hope secures;
15 He will my shield and portion be,
16 As long as life endures.
17 Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
18 And mortal life shall cease;
19 I shall possess, within the veil,
20 A life of joy and peace.
21 This earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
22 The sun forbear to shine;
23 But God, who call'd me here below,
24 Will be for ever mine.
The Book Of Creation
The book of nature open lies,
With much instruction stored;
But till the Lord anoints our eyes
We cannot read a word.
Philosophers have pored in vain,
And guessed, from age to age;
For reason's eye could ne'er attain
To understand a page.
Though to each star they give a name,
Its size and motions teach;
The truths which all the stars proclaim,
Their wisdom cannot reach.
With skill to measure earth and sea;
And weigh the subtle air;
They cannot, Lord, discover thee
Though present everywhere.
The knowledge of the saints excels
The wisdom of the schools;
To them his secrets God reveals,
Though men account them fools.
To them the sun and stars on high,
The flow'rs that paint the field,
And all the artless birds that fly,
Divine instruction yield.
The creatures on their senses press,
As witnesses to prove
Their Saviour's pow'r, and faithfulness,
His providence and love.
Thus may we study nature's book
To make us wise indeed!
And pity those who only look
At what they cannot read.
If Paul in Caesar's court must stand,
He need not fear the sea;
Secured from harm, on every hand,
By the divine decree.
Although the ship, in which he sailed,
By dreadful storms was tossed;
The promise over all prevailed,
And not a life was lost.
Jesus! the God whom Paul adored,
Who saves in time of need;
Was then confessed, by all on board,
A present help indeed!
Though neither sun nor stars were seen
Paul knew the Lord was near;
And faith preserved his soul serene,
When others shook for fear.
Believers thus are tossed about
On life's tempestuous main;
But grace assures, beyond a doubt,
They shall their port attain.
They must, they shall appear one day,
Before their Saviour's throne;
The storms they meet with by the way,
But make his power known.
Their passage lies across the brink
Of many a threat'ning wave;
The world expects to see them sink,
But Jesus lives to save.
Lord, though we are but feeble worms,
Yet since thy word is past;
We'll venture through a thousand storms,
To see thy face at last.
The Barren Fig-Tree
The church a garden is
In which believers stand,
Like ornamental trees
Planted by God's own hand:
His Spirit waters all their roots,
And every branch abounds with fruits.
But other trees there are,
In this enclosure grow;
Which, though they promise fair,
Have only leaves to show:
No fruits of grace are on them found,
They stand but cumb'rers of the ground.
The under gard'ner grieves,
In vain his strength he spends,
For heaps of useless leaves,
Afford him small amends:
He hears the Lord his will make known,
To cut the barren fig-trees down.
How difficult his post,
What pangs his bowels move,
To find his wishes crossed,
His labors useless prove!
His last relief is earnest prayer,
Lord, spare them yet another year.
Spare them, and let me try
What farther means may do;
I'll fresh manure apply,
My digging I'll renew
Who knows but yet they fruit may yield!
If not--'tis just, they must be felled.
If under means of grace,
No gracious fruits appear;
It is a dreadful case,
Though God may long forbear:
At length he'll strike the threatened blow,
And lay the barren fig-tree low.
Waiting For Spring
Though cloudy skies, and northern blasts,
Retard the gentle spring awhile;
The sun will conqu'ror prove at last,
And nature wear a vernal smile.
The promise, which from age to age,
Has brought the changing seasons round;
Again shall calm the winter's rage,
Perfume the air, and paint the ground.
The virtue of that first command,
I know still does, and will prevail;
That while the earth itself shall stand,
The spring and summer shall not fail.
Such changes are for us decreed;
Believers have their winters too;
But spring shall certainly succeed,
And all their former life renew.
Winter and spring have each their use,
And each, in turn, his people know;
One kills the weeds their hearts produce,
The other makes their graces grow.
Though like dead trees awhile they seem,
Yet having life within their root,
The welcome spring's reviving beam
Draws forth their blossoms, leaves, and fruit.
But if the tree indeed be dead,
It feels no change, though spring return,
Its leafless naked, barren head,
Proclaims it only fit to burn.
Dear Lord, afford our souls a spring,
Thou know'st our winter has been long;
Shine forth, and warm our hearts to sing,
And thy rich grace shall be our song.
The Day Of Judgement
Day of judgement, day of wonders!
Hark! the trumpet's awful sound,
Louder than a thousand thunders,
Shakes the vast creation round!
How the summons will the sinner's heart confound.
See the Judge, our nature wearing,
Cloth'd in majesty divine!
You who long for his appearing
Then shall say, "This God is mine!"
Gracious Saviour, own me in that day for thine!
At his call, the dead awaken,
Rise to life from earth and sea:
All the pow'rs of nature shaken
By his looks prepare to flee:
Careless sinner, what will then become of thee?
Horrors past imagination
Will surprise your trembling heart,
When you hear your condemnation,
"Hence, accursed wretch, depart!
"Thou with Satan and his angels have thy part!"
Satan, who now tries to please you,
Lest you timely warning take,
When that word is past, will seize you,
Plunge you in the burning lake:
Think, poor sinner, thy eternal all's at stake.
But to those who have confessed,
Lov'd and serv'd the Lord below,
He will say, "Come near, ye blessed,
"See the kingdom I bestow;
You for ever shall my love and glory know."
Under sorrows and reproaches,
May this thought your courage raise
Swiftly God's great day approaches,
Sighs shall then be chang'd to praise:
We shall triumph when the world is in a blaze.
Elijah Fed By Ravens
Elijah's example declares,
Whatever distress may betide;
The saints may commit all their cares
To him who will surely provide:
When rain long withheld from the earth
Occasioned a famine of bread;
The prophet, secure from the dearth,
By ravens was constantly fed.
More likely to rob than to feed,
Were ravens who live upon prey;
But when the Lord's people have need,
His goodness will find out a way:
This instance to those may seem strange,
Who know not how faith can prevail;
But sooner all nature shall change,
Than one of God's promises fail.
Nor is it a singular case,
The wonder is often renewed;
And many can say, to his praise,
He sends them by ravens their food:
Thus worldlings, though ravens indeed,
Though greedy and selfish their mind,
If God has a servant to feed,
Against their own wills can be kind.
Thus Satan, that raven unclean,
Who croaks in the ears of the saints;
Compelled by a power unseen,
Administers oft to their wants:
God teaches them how to find food
From all the temptations they feel;
This raven, who thirsts for my blood,
Has helped me to many a meal.
How safe and how happy are they
Who on the good Shepherd rely!
He gives them out strength for their day,
Their wants he will surely supply:
He ravens and lions can tame,
All creatures obey his command;
Then let me rejoice in his name,
And leave all my cares in his hand.
The Disciples At Sea
Constrained by their Lord to embark,
And venture, without him, to sea;
The season tempestuous and dark,
How grieved the disciples must be!
But though he remained on the shore,
He spent the night for them in prayer;
They still were as safe as before,
And equally under his care.
They strove, though in vain, for a while,
The force of the waves to withstand;
But when they were wearied with toil,
They saw their dear Saviour at hand:
They gladly received him on board,
His presence their spirits revived;
The sea became calm at his word,
And soon at their port they arrived.
We, like the disciples, are tossed
By storms, on a perilous deep;
But cannot be possibly lost,
For Jesus has charge of the ship:
Though billows and winds are enraged,
And threaten to make us their sport;
This pilot his word has engaged
To bring us, in safety, to port.
If sometimes we struggle alone,
And he is withdrawn from our view;
It makes us more willing to own,
We nothing, without him, can do:
Then Satan our hopes would assail,
But Jesus is still within call;
And when our poor efforts quite fail,
He comes in good time and does all.
Yet, Lord, we are ready to shrink.
Unless we thy presence perceive;
O save us (we cry) or we sink,
We would, but we cannot believe
The night has been long and severe,
The winds and the seas are still high;
Dear Saviour, this moment appear,
And say to our souls, It is I!