Warning to Magistrates

Judges, who rule the world by laws

Author: Isaac Watts
Tune: OLD 113TH
Published in 53 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Judges, who rule the world by laws,
will you despise the righteous cause,
when in your court poor victims stand?
Dare you condemn the righteous poor,
and let rich crooks escape secure,
while gold and greatness bribe your hand?

2 Have you forgot, or never knew
that God will judge the judges too?
High in the heav'ns his justice reigns;
yet you invade the rights of God
and send your bold decrees abroad,
to bind the conscience in your chains.

3 A poisoned arrow is your tongue,
the arrow sharp, the poison strong,
and death attends where'er it wounds:
you hear no counsels, cries, or tears,
just as the cobra stops her ears
against the pow'r of charming sounds.

4 Break out their teeth, eternal God—
those teeth of lions dyed in blood—
and crush the serpents in the dust:
as empty chaff when whirlwinds rise
before the sweeping tempest flies,
so let their hopes and names be lost.

5 Th' Almighty thunders from the sky,
their grandeur melts, their titles die,
as hills of snow dissolve and run,
or snails that perish in their slime,
or births that come before their time,
vain births, that never see the sun.

6 Thus shall the vengeance of the LORD
true peace and joy to saints afford,
and all that hear shall join and say,
"There is a God who rules on high,
a God who hears his children cry,
and will their suff'rings well repay."

Source: Christian Worship: Psalter #58B

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Judges, who rule the world by laws
Title: Warning to Magistrates
Author: Isaac Watts
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



GENEVAN 68 is usually attributed to Matthäus Greiter (b. Aichach, Bavaria, 1490; d. Strasbourg, France, 1550). It was published as a setting for Psalm 119 in Das dritt theil Strassburger Kirchenampt (1525), which Greiter and his friend Wolfgang Dachstein edited. Greiter studied at Freiburg Universi…

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The Cyber Hymnal #3470
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Instances (1 - 2 of 2)

Christian Worship #58B


The Cyber Hymnal #3470

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