Pleading For Mercy
In mercy, not in wrath, rebuke
Thy feeble worm, my God!
My spirit dreads thine angry look,
And trembles at thy rod.
Have mercy, Lord, for I am weak,
Regard my heavy groans;
O let thy voice of comfort speak,
And heal my broken bones!
By day my busy beating head
Is filled with anxious fears;
By night, upon my restless bed,
I weep a flood of tears.
Thus I sit desolate and mourn,
Mine eyes grow dull with grief;
How long, my Lord, ere thou return,
And bring my soul relief?
O come and show thy pow'r to save,
And spare my fainting breath;
For who can praise thee in the grave,
Or sing thy name in death?
Satan, my cruel envious foe,
Insults me in my pain;
He smiles to see me brought so low,
And tells me hope is vain,
But hence, thou enemy, depart!
Nor tempt me to despair;
My Saviour comes to cheer my heart,
The Lord has heard my prayer.
Vanity Of Life
The evils that beset our path
Who can prevent or cure?
We stand upon the brink of death
When most we seem secure.
If we today sweet peace possess,
It soon may be withdrawn;
Some change may plunge us in distress,
Before tomorrow's dawn.
Disease and pain invade our health
And find an easy prey;
And oft, when least expected, wealth
Takes wings and flies away.
A fever or a blow can shake
Our wisdom's boasted rule;
And of the brightest genius make
A madman or a fool.
The gourds, from which we look for fruit,
Produce us only pain;
A worm unseen attacks the root,
And all our hopes are vain.
I pity those who seek no more
Than such a world can give;
Wretched they are, and blind, and poor,
And dying while they live.
Since sin has filled the earth with woe,
And creatures fade and die;
Lord wean our hearts from things below,
And fix our hopes on high.
Poor sinners! little do they think
With whom they have to do!
But stand securely on the brink
Of everlasting woe.
Belshazzar thus, profanely bold,
The Lord of hosts defied;
But vengeance soon his boasts controlled,
And humbled all his pride.
He saw a hand upon the wall
And trembled on his throne
Which wrote his sudden dreadful fall
In characters unknown.
Why should he tremble at the view
Of what he could not read?
Foreboding conscience quickly knew
His ruin was decreed.
See him o'erwhelmed with deep distress!
His eyes with anguish roll;
His looks, and loosened joints, express
The terrors of his soul.
His pomp and music, guests and wine,
No more delight afford;
O sinner, ere this case be thine,
Begin to seek the Lord.
The law like this hand-writing stands,
And speaks the wrath of God;
But Jesus answers its demands,
And cancels it with blood.
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.
Mary to her Saviour's tomb
Hasted at the early dawn;
Spice she brought, and sweet perfume,
But the Lord, The loved, was gone.
For awhile she weeping stood,
Struck with sorrow and surprise;
Shedding tears, a plenteous flood,
For her heart supplied her eyes.
Jesus, who is always near,
Though too often unperceived
Came, his drooping child to cheer,
And enquired, Why she grieved?
Though at first she knew him not,
When he called her by her name,
Then her griefs were all forgot,
For she found he was the same.
Grief and sighing quickly fled
When she heard his welcome voice;
Just before she thought him dead,
Now he bids her heart rejoice:
What a change his word can make,
Turning darkness into day!
You who weep for Jesus' sake;
He will wipe your tears away.
He who came to comfort her,
When she thought her all was lost;
Will for your relief appear,
Though you now are tempest-tossed:
On his word your burden cast,
On his love your thoughts employ;
Weeping for awhile may last,
But the morning brings the joy.
Vanity Of The Creature Sanctified
Honey though the bee prepares,
An envenomed sting he wears;
Piercing thorns a guard compose
Round the fragrant blooming rose.
Where we think to find a sweet,
Oft a painful sting we meet:
When the rose invites our eye,
We forget the thorn is nigh.
Why are thus our hopes beguiled?
Why are all our pleasures spoiled?
Why do agony and woe
From our choicest comforts grow?
Sin has been the cause of all!
'Twas not thus before the fall:
What but pain, and thorn, and sting,
From the root of sin can spring?
Now with every good we find
Vanity and grief entwined;
What we feel, or what we fear,
All our joys embitter here.
Yet, through the Redeemer's love,
These afflictions blessings prove;
He the wounding stings and thorns,
Into healing med'cines turns.
From the earth our hearts they wean,
Teach us on his arm to lean;
Urge us to a throne of grace,
Make us seek a resting place.
In the mansions of our King
Sweets abound without a sting;
Thornless there the roses blow,
And the joys unmingled flow.
Afflictions do not come alone,
A voice attends the rod;
By both he to his saints is known,
A Father and a God!
Let not my children slight the stroke
I for chastisement send;
Nor faint beneath my kind rebuke,
For still I am their friend.
The wicked I perhaps may leave
Awhile, and not reprove;
But all the children I receive
I scourge, because I love.
If therefore you were left without
This needful discipline;
You might, with cause, admit a doubt,
If you, indeed, were mine.
Shall earthly parents then expect
Their children to submit?
And wilt not you, when I correct,
Be humbled at my feet?
To please themselves they oft chastise,
And put their sons to pain;
But you are precious in my eyes,
And shall not smart in vain.
I see your hearts, at present, filled
With grief, and deep distress;
But soon these bitter seeds shall yield
The fruits of righteousness.
Break through the clouds, dear Lord, and shine!
Let us perceive thee nigh!
And to each mourning child of thine
These gracious words apply.
Zaccheus climbed the tree,
And thought himself unknown;
But how surprised was he
When Jesus called him down!
The Lord beheld him, though concealed,
And by a word his pow'r revealed.
Wonder and joy at once
Were painted in his face;
Does he my name pronounce?
And does he know my case?
Will Jesus deign with me to dine?
Lord, I, with all I have, am thine!
Thus where the gospel's preached,
And sinners come to hear;
The hearts of some are reached
Before they are aware:
The word directly speaks to them,
And seems to point them out by name.
Oft brings them in the way,
Only the man to see,
And hear what he can say;
But how the sinner starts to find
The preacher knows his inmost mind.
His long forgotten faults
Are brought again in view,
And all his secret thoughts
Revealed in public too:
Though compassed with a crowd about,
The searching word has found him out.
While thus distressing pain
And sorrow fills his heart,
He hears a voice again,
That bids his fears depart:
Then like Zaccheus he is blest,
And Jesus deigns to be his guest.
Lovest Thou Me?
'Tis a point I long to know,
Oft it causes anxious thought;
Do I love the Lord, or no?
Am I his, or am I not?
If I love, why am I thus?
Why this dull and lifeless frame?
Hardly, sure, can they be worse,
Who have never heard his name!
Could my heart so hard remain,
Prayer a task and burden prove;
Every trifle give me pain,
If I knew a Saviour's love?
When I turn my eyes within,
All is dark, and vain, and wild;
Filled with unbelief and sin,
Can I deem myself a child?
If I pray, or hear, or read,
Sin is mixed with all I do;
You that love the Lord indeed,
Tell me, Is it thus with you?
Yet I mourn my stubborn will,
Find my sin, a grief, and thrall;
Should I grieve for what I feel,
If I did not love at all?
Could I joy his saints to meet,
Choose the ways I once abhorred,
Find, at times, the promise sweet,
If I did not love the Lord?
Lord decide the doubtful case!
Thou who art thy people's sun;
Shine upon thy work of grace,
If it be indeed begun.
Let me love thee more and more,
If I love at all, I pray;
If I have not loved before,
Help me to begin today.
Dwelling In Mesech
What a mournful life is mine,
Fill with crosses, pains and cares!
Every work defiled with sin,
Every step beset with snares!
If alone I pensive fit,
I myself can hardly bear;
If I pass along the street,
Sin and riot triumph there.
Jesus! how my heart is pained,
How it mourns for souls deceived!
When I hear thy name profaned,
When I see thy Spirit grieved!
When thy children's griefs I view,
Their distress becomes my own;
All I hear, or see, or do,
Makes me tremble, weep and groan.
Mourning thus I long had been,
When I heard my Saviour's voice;
Thou hast cause to mourn for sin,
But in me thou may'st rejoice.
This kind word dispelled my grief,
Put to silence my complaints;
Though of sinners I am chief,
He his ranked me with his saints.
Though constrained to dwell a while
Where the wicked strive and brawl;
Let them frown; so he but smile,
Heav'n will make amends for all.
There, believers, we shall rest,
Free from sorrow, sin and fears;
Nothing there our peace molests,
Through eternal rounds of years.
Let us then the fight endure,
See our Captain looking down;
He will make the conquest sure,
And bestow the promised crown.
The Inward Warfare
Strange and mysterious is my life,
What opposites I feel within!
A stable peace, a constant strife,
The rule of grace, the pow'r of sin:
Too often I am captive led,
Yet daily triumph in my Head.
I prize the privilege of prayer,
But o! what backwardness to pray!
Though on the Lord I cast my care,
I feel its burden every day:
I seek his will in all I do,
Yet find my own is working too.
I call the promises my own,
And prize them more than mines of gold;
Yet though their sweetness I have known,
They leave me unimpressed and cold
One hour upon the truth I feed,
The next I know not what I read.
I love the holy day of rest,
When Jesus meets his gathered saints;
Sweet day, of all the week the best!
For its return my spirit pants:
Yet often, through my unbelief,
It proves a day of guilt and grief.
While on my Saviour I rely,
I know my foes shall loose their aim;
And therefore dare their pow'r defy,
Assured of conquest through his name:
But soon my confidence is slain,
And all my fears return again.
Thus different pow'rs within me strive,
And grace, and sin, by turns prevail;
I grieve, rejoice, decline, revive,
And vict'ry hangs in doubtful scale:
But Jesus has his promise passed,
That grace shall overcome at last.
To The Afflicted, Tossed With Tempests And Not Comforted
Pensive, doubting, fearful heart,
Hear what Christ the Saviour says;
Every word should joy impart,
Change thy mourning into praise:
Yes, he speaks, and speaks to thee,
May he help thee to believe!
Then thou presently wilt see,
Thou hast little cause to grieve.
Fear thou not, nor be ashamed,
All thy sorrows soon shall end
I who heav'n and earth have framed,
Am thy husband and thy friend
I the High and Holy One,
Israel's God by all adored;
As thy Saviour will be known,
Thy Redeemer and thy Lord.
For a moment I withdrew,
And thy heart was filled with pain;
But my mercies I'll renew,
Thou shalt soon rejoice again:
Though I scorn to hide my face,
Very soon my wrath shall cease;
'Tis but for a moment's space,
Ending in eternal peace.
When my peaceful bow appears
Painted on the wat'ry cloud;
'Tis to dissipate thy fears,
Lest the earth should be o'erflowed:
'Tis an emblem too of grace,
Of my cov'nant love a sign;
Though the mountains leave their place,
Thou shalt be for ever mine.
Though afflicted, tempest-tossed,
Comfortless awhile thou art,
Do not think thou canst be lost,
Thou art graven on my heart
All thy walls I will repair,
Thou shalt be rebuilt anew;
And in thee it shall appear,
What a God of love can do.
The Lord, our salvation and light,
The guide of our strength and our days,
Has brought us together to-night,
A new Ebenezer to raise:
The year we have now passed through,
His goodness with blessings has crown'd,
Each morning his mercies were new;
Then let our thanksgivings abound.
Encompass'd with dangers and snares,
Temptations, and fears, and complaints,
His ear he inclin'd to our pray'rs,
His hand open'd wide to our wants.
We never besought him in vain;
When burden'd with sorrow or sin,
He help'd us again and again,
Or where before now had we been?
His Gospel, throughout the long year,
From Sabbath to Sabbath he gave;
How oft has he met with us here,
And shown himself mighty to save?
His candlestick has been remov'd
From churches once privileg'd thus;
But though we unworthy have prov'd,
It still is continu'd to us.
For so many mercies receiv'd,
Alas! what returns have we made?
His Spirit we often have griev'd,
And evil for good have repaid,
How well it becomes us to cry,
"Oh! who is a God like to thee?
Who passest iniquities by,
And plungest them deep in the sea!"
To Jesus., who sits on the throne,
Our best hallelujahs we bring;
To thee it is owing alone
That we are permitted to sing:
Assist us, we pray, to lament
The sins of the year that is past
And grant that the next may be spent
Far more to thy praise than the last.
When Hannah Pressed With Grief
When Hannah pressed with grief,
Poured forth her soul in prayer;
She quickly found relief,
And left her burden there:
Like her, in every trying case,
Let us approach the throne of grace.
When she began to pray,
Her heart was pained and sad;
But ere she went away,
Was comforted and glad:
In trouble, what a resting place,
Have they who know the throne of grace!
Though men and devils rage,
And threaten to devour;
The saints, from age to age,
Are safe from all their pow'r:
Fresh strength they gain to run their race,
By waiting at the throne of grace.
Eli her case mistook,
How was her spirit moved
By his unkind rebuke?
But God her cause approved.
We need not fear a creature's face,
While welcome at a throne of grace.
She was not filled with wine,
As Eli rashly thought;
But with a faith divine,
And found the help file sought:
Though men despise and call us base,
Still let us ply the throne of grace.
Men have not pow'r or skill,
With troubled souls to bear;
Though they express good-will,
Poor comforters they are:
But swelling sorrows sink apace,
When we approach the throne of grace.
Numbers before have tried,
And found the promise true;
Nor one been yet denied,
Then why should I or you?
Let us by faith their footsteps trace,
And hasten to the throne of grace.
As fogs obscure the light,
And taint the morning air;
But soon are put to flight,
If the bright sun appear;
Thus Jesus will our troubles chase,
By shining from the throne of grace.