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Hymn 5

John Newton


Death and war. 1778.

Hark! how time’s wide sounding bell

Strikes on each attentive ear!

Tolling loud the solemn knell

Of the late departed year:

Years, like mortals, wear away,

Have their birth, and dying day;

Youthful spring, and wintry age,

Then to others quit the stage.

Sad experience may relate

What a year the last has been!

Crops of sorrow have been great,

From the fruitful seeds of sin:

187 O! what numbers gay and blithe,

Fell by death’s unsparing scythe?

While they thought the world their own,

Suddenly he mowed them down.

See how war, with dreadful stride,

Marches at the LORD’S command,

Spreading desolation wide,

Through a once much–favored land:

War, with heart and arms of steel,

Preys on thousands at a meal;

Daily drinking human gore,

Still he thirsts, and calls for more.

If the God, whom we provoke,

Hither should his way direct;

What a sin–avenging stroke

May a land, like this, expect!

They who now securely sleep,

Quickly then, would wake and weep;

And too late would learn to fear,

When they saw the danger near.

You are safe, who know his love,

He will all his truth perform;

To your souls a refuge prove

From the rage of every storm:

But we tremble for the youth;

Teach them, Lord, thy saving truth;

Join them to thy faithful few,

Be to them a refuge too.

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