1. See! another year is gone!
Quickly have the seasons passed!
This we enter now upon
May to many prove our last.
Mercy hitherto has spared,
But have mercies been improved?
Let us ask, am I prepared
Should I be this year removed?
2. Some we now no longer see,
Who their mortal race have run;
Seemed as fair for life as we,
When the former year begun;
Some, but who God only knows,
Who are here assembled now,
Ere the present year shall close,
To the stroke of death must bow.
3. Life a field of battle is,
Thousands fall within our view;
And the next death-bolt that flies,
May be sent to me or you:
While we preach, and while we hear,
Help us, Lord, each one, to think,
Vast eternity is near,
I am standing on the brink.
4. If from guilt and sin set free,
By the knowledge of Thy grace;
Welcome, then, the call will be
To depart and see Thy face:
To Thy saints, while here below,
With new years, new mercies come;
But the happiest year they know
Is their last, which leads them home.
John Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. His licentious and tumultuous sailing life included a flogging for attempted desertion from the Royal Navy and captivity by a slave trader in West Africa. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. Several factors contributed to Newton's conversion: a near-drowning in 1748, the piety of his friend Mary Catlett, (whom he married in 1750), and his reading of Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. After becoming a tide… Go to person page >
Converted to Christianity as a youth at a mission in Buffalo, New York, Marcus Morris Wells (b. Cooperstown, NY, 1815; d. Hartwick, NY, 1895) spent most of his life near Hartwick as a farmer and maker of farm implements. He is remembered in hymnody for writing both the text and tune of "Holy Spirit,…