1 His mercies to the good will heav'n ensure,
To all whose hands are clean, whose hearts are pure:
2 And yet how nigh I 'ad from my duty stray'd,
When I the counsels of his wisdom weigh'd?
3 Mad was my heart, when I the wicked saw,
Who made their impious wills their only law;
When I beheld them of their pow'r possest,
With health, with peace, with prosp'rous fortunes blest.
4 Vig'rous and strong, the paths of life they tread,
Fear not mischance, nor death's grim horrors dread.
5 The anxious cares that other men depress,
The killing griefs that righteous souls distress,
Are never theirs; in happy ease they live,
Flow in their joys, and have not learn'd to grieve.
6 Therefore with insolence, with pride they swell,
No pangs for injur'd innocence they feel,
But violence and rapine make their joy,
And call it wond'rous glory, to destroy.
7 Fill'd are their garners, countless is their store;
Yet their insatiate souls still thirst for more:
More still they have--how fair their lots are cast!
More than their wanton luxury can waste.
8 Corrupt their hearts, oppression's all their thought;
With vast ideas of themselves they're fraught;
Proud is their speech, and lofty are their eyes;
9 Still higher in their monstrous guilt they rise;
Not with their insults on the world content,
'Gainst heav'n's high Lord their blasphemies they vent.
10 With souls astonish'd this the righteous view;
See, ever-streaming tears their cheeks bedew!
11 "Surely (they cry) our glorious God is just;
"Will he not punish such imperious dust?
12 "If such prosperity the wretch attends,
"Whose daring blasphemy high heav'n offends;
"If wealth, if honours, to the impious flow,
"Who such consummate insolence dare shew;
13 "Vainly our hearts we've cleans'd from ev'ry stain,
"We've wash'd our hands in innocence in vain.
14 "Why such continued anguish do we bear?
"Why guard our actions with such fruitless care?"
15 But soon these wild surmises I restrain'd;
Soon my complaining heart with awe I rein'd;
Lest 'gainst my God I shou'd have guilty been,
And judg'd his conduct with the sons of men.
16 Yet anxious still, the latent cause I sought;
Still the amazing fcene employ'd my thought ;
Fruitless my search--I no relief cou'd find;
A gloomy darkness clouded still my mind.
17 When to thy temple, Lord, I bent my way;
There on my soul thou beam'd'st a sudden day;
No more thy favours to the wicked wound;
Their sad, their fatal end I straitway found.
18 I saw on what a slipp'ry height they stood,
How vain the wealth that constant to them flow'd;
What poor support 'twou'd prove, when o'er their head
Thou shou'dst the terrors of thy vengeance spread.
19 How in a moment are they all destroy'd!
How are their honours and their riches void!
20 Like a mere fleeting dream at night they are;
Awhile they strike our souls with doubt, with fear;
But when our God awakes, the terror's o'er,
And they're despis'd, who struck with dread before.
21 This 'fore I knew, what gloomy thoughts did roll
Within my breast? what anguish pain'd my soul?
22 Stupid and dull, I like a brute became,
Clouded with ignorance, and sunk in shame.
23 But now, supported by thy pow'rful hand,
Now that thy secret will I understand;
23 Thro' thy propitious influence I revive,
And in thy glory humbly hope to live.
25 Whom have I, gracious God, in heav'n but thee?
On earth, who mates thy love, thy clemency?
26 Broke was my anguish'd heart; my spirits fail'd,
And a dead numbness o'er my frame prevail'd.
Thou with new vigour didst my soul inspire,
And gav'st my plaining heart her full desire.
27 While on the wicked thy dread judgments fall,
And they, who thee despise, shall perish all;
28 Thy will I'll follow--thou, my only stay,
Oft to my soul thy goodness didst display;
Blest with thy love; from doubt, from danger free,
Continual anthems will I sing to thee.
Source: New Version of the Psalms of David #LXXIII