1 When descending from the sky,
The bridegroom shall appear;
And the solemn midnight cry,
Shall call professors near;
How the sound our hearts will damp!
How will shame o'erspread each face!
If we only have a lamp,
Without the oil of grace.
2 Foolish virgins then will wake,
And seek for a supply;
But in vain the pains they take
To borrow or to buy:
Then with those they now despise,
Earnestly they'll wish to share;
But the best among the wise,
Will have no oil to spare.
3 Wise are they, and truly blest,
Who then shall ready be!
But despair will seize the rest,
And dreadful misery,
Once, they'll cry, we scorned no doubt,
Though in lies our trust we put;
Now our lamp of hope is out,
The door of mercy shut.
4 If they then presume to plead,
"Lord open to us now;
We on earth have heard and prayed
And with thy saints did bow:"
He will answer from his throne,
"Though you with my people mixed,
Yet to me you ne'er were known,
Depart, your doom is fixed."
5 O that none who worship here
May hear the word depart!
Lord, impress a godly fear
On each professor's heart:
Help us Lord to search the camp,
Let us not ourselves beguile;
Trusting to a dying lamp,
Without a stock of oil.
The Christian's duty, exhibited in a series of hymns, 1791
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 >