With Thankful Hymns Address The Mighty L
With thankful hymns address the mighty Lord;
With songs of joy be heav’ns high king ador’d;
For his beneficence to all extends;
His great, his glorious mercy never ends.
His wond’rous acts what eloquence displays?
What tongue can utter all his pow’r, his praise?
Thrice happy they, that will his law observe,
That love his law, nor from it’s dictates swerve!
Me with that gracious mercy view, O God,
Which to thy chosen thou hast constant shew’d;
Look on me still with an indulgent eye,
That I thy people’s blessings may enjoy,
May long in their felicity rejoice,
And to thy glory tune my grateful voice.
Stiff and rebellious, like our fires, we prove,
And pay with base ingratitude thy love,
Plunge into horrid mischiefs, and forget
How vast thy pow’r, thy clemency how great;
So they, from hard, from cruel bondage freed,
Them to the sea when humble Moses led,
Reflected not the wonders of thy hand,
Thy miracles in Egypt’s idol-land;
But, obstinately blind, in murmurs rose
Against the leader heav’n himself had chose.
Yet his resentment still our God forbore;
That all might know and tremble at his pow’r;
He his dread mandate to the waters gave;
They heard, and strait subsided ev’ry wave;
Erect, they rose–he spoke, and they obey’d–
By his directing hand his people led,
Pass o’er secure, and gain the farther shore,
And soon the rageful tyrant fear no more.
For, as the hostile bands, resolv’d, pursue,
The waves returning on their ranks they view;
Whelm’d in the deep, they die–not one remains;–
But oh! amid the tribes what transport reigns?
How do they now believe? and how they praise
Their great Protector-God in thankful lays?
But all their dangers, all their fears remov’d,
Again rebellious to this God they prov’d;
Soon his stupendous miracles forgot,
Nor on his pow’r, nor on his mercies thought.
Urg’d by their lusts, their murmurs soon they breathe,
Make insolent demands, and raise his wrath.
Their insolent demands they strait obtain’d;
Down from high heav’n the feather’d food he rain’d;
But while the cates the greedy tribes devour,
Adown their throats they sure perdition pour;
They eat and die–provok’d, their angry God
With fatal fury, with dread vengeance glow’d.
But nought, when men are wilful in offence.
Avails or vengeance or beneficence;
Enflam’d with envy, still their murmurs rose,
And Moses and his brother they oppose.
Their impious crimes dire punishments await;
Her jaws earth opens, and devours them strait;
Consuming fire pours sudden from the sky,
And all th’ abettors and their race destroy.
Still they’re perverse; they now their Lord forsake,
On Horeb’s mount an imag’d calf they make;
Tore this they fall, and adoration pay;
Absurd resemblance of what feeds on hay!
Ingrate! their great redeemer to forget,
How he secur’d from bondage their retreat;
What gracious mercies to them he had shewn,
What glorious wonders he had for them done.
‘Twas then his dire resentment ‘gainst them rag’d,
Which had the faithful Moses not assuag’d,
Had he not stood between their God and them,
Extinct had been their race, and lost their name.
Sure now their harden’d hearts were struck with dread;
Sure now with ease they by their chief were led
Ah no! by punishment they’re yet unaw’d,
Again they murmur, and distrust their God.
Against their leader and their God they rise;
Swift o’er the camp the winged tumult flies;
The joyous feats he promis’d them, they scorn,
And to his mercies make a base return.
Th’ All-high, provok’d, rais’d then his mighty hand,
Resolv’d to slay them in that desart land;
To leave them to the nations round a prey,
Destroy their race, and scatter them away.
Still obstinate, again they left their Lord,
And Baal’s imag’d deity ador’d;
To him their victims and oblations paid,
And bow’d before a mortal god for aid.
Jehovah, angry at this new offence,
Sent on his tribes a deadly pestilence;
In Baal’s aid but poor relief they found;
Death, clad in all his horrors stalk’d around;
When Phinehas with divine resentment glow’d,
And due regard for heav’n’s high honour shew’d;
The madness of the wretched croud restrain’d,
And a full respite from their miseries gain’d:
No more th’ infection on their vitals prey’d,
But by his strenuous arm the plague was stay’d.
For this has he acquir’d a deathless name,
And, long as lasts this earth, shall live his fame.
And, Meribah, their guilt thy waters saw,
When still the All-high’s dread anger cou’d not awe
Their adamantine hearts; when still they shew’d
Their base distrust in their almighty God.
‘Twas then, O Moses, that thy meekness fail’d;
Their constant murmurs o’er thy soul prevail’d;
Their base reproaches rais’d thy wrath too high,
And on this side of Jordan must thou die.
But sure, when of the promis’d land possest,
When with the fruitful fields of Canaan blest,
Their God they worshipp’d and his will obey’d,
And never from the law he gave them stray’d?
Ah! still his dread behests they durst withstand,
And not destroy’d the natives of the land:
But, to their base idolatries inclin’d,
Soon in their impious rites with them they join’d;
Of fancied deities they sought th’ abodes,
And offer’d human victims to their gods:
Nay; their own infants (horrid is the thought)!
Unnatural parents to their demons brought;
Around their altars stream’d the vital flood,
And all the fsacred land’s distain’d with blood.
Thus they the aid of fancied gods implor’d;
Thus they the works of their own hands ador’d.
Therefore the Lord with dreadful fury burn’d;
Justly the people he had chose, he scorn’d;
He to the nations gave them up a prey,
And they their most invet’rate foes obey.
Their lordly foes with insolence oppress,
And load them with the most severe distress.
And yet, if e’er their gracious God reliev’d,
Still their obdurate hearts his spirit griev’d;
Still to their wonted crimes wou’d they return,
His name reject, and at his statutes spurn.
Yet still his mercy and his goodness sway’d;
Oft he reliev’d them, when they sought his aid;
Oft mindful of his covenant he prov’d,
Forgave their crimes, and all their woes remov’d.
And, when for their impieties brought low,
They bore th’ oppressions of the haughty foe,
With soft compassion he the conqu’ror struck,
That still more mild, more gentle, was the yoke.
O sov’reign Lord, thy favour’d tribes defend;
Still ‘gainst the heathen be our pow’rful friend;
That we thy wond’rous glory may proclaim,
And sing in grateful hymns thy holy name:
That Israel’s race may Israel’s God extol,
And, while this earth shall live, on thee may call;
Thy pow’r, thy might, thy majesty, may sing,
And hail their gracious God, their heav’nly king.