How Ever It Be Yet God Is Good
Truly the Lord is very good
and kind to Israel,
And to all such as safely keep
their conscience pure and well.
But as for me, I almost slip’d,
my feet began to slide,
Before that I was well aware
my steps did turn aside.
For when I saw such foolish men,
I grudg’d with great disdain,
That wicked men all things should have
without turmoil and pain:
They never suffer pains nor grief,
as if death should them smite,
Their bodies are full stout and strong,
and ever in good plight;
Always free from adversity
and ev’ry sad event,
With other men they take no part
of plague or punishment:
Therefore presumption doth embrace
their necks as doth a chain,
They are ev’n wrapt as in a robe
with rapine and disdain:
They are so fed, that ev’n with fat
their eyes oft-times out-start,
And as for worldly goods they have
more than can wish their heart:
Their life is most licentious, and
they boast much with their tongue,
How they the poor and simple have
Oppressed with great wrong:
They set their mouth against the heav’ns,
and do the Lord blaspheme,
They proudly boast of worldly things,
no one they do esteem.
God’s people often do turn back
to see their prosp’rous state,
And almost drink the self-same cup,
and talk at the same rate:
The Second Part.
How can it be that God, say they,
should know or understand
These worldly things, since wicked men
be lords of sea and land?
For we may see how wicked men
in riches still increase,
Rewarded well with worldly goods,
and live in rest and peace;
Then why do I so carefully
from wickedness refrain?
And wash my hands in innocence,
and cleanse my heart in vain,
And suffer scourges ev’ry day,
as subject to all blame,
And ev’ry morning from my youth
sustain rebuke and shame?
Now I had almost said as they,
misliking my estate;
But then I should thy children judge
as most unfortunate.
Then I bethought me how I might
this matter understand,
But yet the labour was too great
for me to take in hand;
Until the time I went into
thy holy place, and then
I understood right perfectly
the end of all these men:
Namely, how that thou settest them
upon a slipp’ry place,
And at thy pleasure and thy will
thou dost them soon deface.
Then all men muse at that strange sight,
to see how suddenly
They do consume, perish, and come
to endless misery;
Much like a dream when one awakes,
so shall their wealth decay,
Their famous names in all men’s sight
shall fail and pass away.
Yet thus my heart was grieved then,
my mind was much opprest;
So simple and so ignorant,
ev’n as it were a beast.
Nevertheless, by my right-hand
thou hold’st me always fast,
And with thy counsel shalt me guide
to glory at the last.
What thing is there, that I can wish,
but thee in heav’n above?
And in the earth there nothing is
like thee, that I can love.
My flesh and spirit both do fail,
but God wilt me restore;
For of my heart he is the strength
and portion evermore.
But o, all such as thee forsake
thou shalt destroy each one,
And those that trust in any thing,
saving in thee alone.
Therefore will I draw near to God,
and ever with him dwell;
In God alone I put my trust,
his wonders I will tell.