I. Lord, thou hast been thy children's God,
All-pow'rful, wise, and good, and just,
In ev'ry age their safe abode,
Their hope, their refuge, and their trust.
II. Before thy word gave nature birth,
Or spread the starry heav'ns abroad,
Or form'd the varied face of earth,
From everlasting thou art God.
III. Destruction waits thy awful word,
While mortal hope expiring mourns;
Obedient nature owns her Lord,
And dying man to dust returns.
IV. Great Father of eternity,
How short are ages in thy sight!
A thousand years, how swift they fly,
Like one short, silent watch of night!
V. Thy anger, like a swelling flood,
Comes o'er the world with dreadful sway;
The tempest speaks th'offended God,
And sweeps the guilty race away.
VI. Uncertain life, how soon it flies!
Dream of an hour, how short our bloom!
Like spring's gay verdure now we rise,
Cut down e're night to fill the tomb.
VII. Consum'd by thy vindictive frown,
Our blessings and our lives decay;
Our spirits sink despairing down,
And ev'ry comfort dies away.
VIII. Full in thy view our crimes appear,
Thy eye beholds each secret fault,
And marks, in holiness severe,
The sins of ev'ry inmost thought.
IX. Our days, alas, how short their bound!
Tho' slow and sad they seem to run,
Revolving years roll swiftly round,
A mournful tale, but quickly done.
X. Perhaps to threescore years and ten
Protracted; or if longer still,
Ah, what can more, but lengthen'd pain,
The last sad tedious period fill?
XI. What mournful thought can comprehend
The awful glories of thy throne?
Not all the terrors fear can lend,
Can make thy dreadful vengeance known.
XII. Teach us to count our short'ning days,
And with true diligence apply
Our hearts to wisdom's sacred ways,
That we may learn to live and die.
XIII. O may thy favour, Lord, return,
Nor thy bright presence long delay;
Nor let thy servants vainly mourn,
And weep their wretched lives away.
XIV. Soon let thy mercy chear our hearts,
And tune our grateful songs of praise;
And let the joy thy smile imparts,
Enliven all our future days.
XV. O make our sacred pleasures rise,
In sweet proportion to our pains,
'Till ev'n the sad remembrance dies,
Nor one uneasy thought complains.
XVI. Let thy almighty work appear,
With pow'r and evidence divine;
And may the bliss thy servants share,
Continued to their children shine.
XVII. Thy glorious image fair imprest,
Let all our hearts and lives declare;
Beneath thy kind protection blest,
May all our labours own thy care.
|First Line:||Lord, thou hast been thy children's God|