Psalm 115

Words: Isaac Watts

A version in the metre of the 50th Psalm is below
The true God our refuge; or, Idolatry reproved. 

   1  Not to ourselves, who are but dust,
      Not to ourselves is glory due,
      Eternal God, thou only just,
      Thou only gracious, wise, and true.

   2  Shine forth in all thy dreadful name;
      Why should a heathen's haughty tongue
      Insult us, and, to raise our shame, 
      Say, "Where's the God you've served so long ?"

   3  The God we serve maintains his throne
      Above the clouds, beyond the skies;
      Through all the earth his will is done;
      He knows our groans, he hears our cries.

   4  But the vain idols they adore
      Are senseless shapes of stone and wood;
      At best a mass of glitt'ring ore,
      A silver saint or golden god.

   5  With eyes and ears they carve their head;
      Deaf are their ears, their eyes are blind;
      In vain are costly off'rings made,
      And vows are scattered in the wind.

   6  Their feet were never made to move,
      Nor hands to save when mortals pray;
      Mortals that pay them fear or love
      Seem to be blind and deaf as they.

   7  O Isr'el! make the Lord thy hope,
      Thy help, thy refuge, and thy rest;
      The Lord shall build thy ruins up,
      And bless the people and the priest.

   8  The dead no more can speak thy praise,
      They dwell in silence and the grave;
      But we shall live to sing thy grace,
      And tell the world thy power to save.

To the tune of the 50th Psalm.
Popish idolatry reproved.
A Psalm for the Fifth of November. (Guy Fawkes Day)

Music: Old 50th, from the French Psalters of 1558-1561, probably by Louis Bourgeous
   1  Not to our names, thou only just and true,
      Not to our worthless names is glory due;
      Thy power and grace, thy truth and justice, claim
      Immortal honors to thy sov'reign name:
         Shine through the earth from heav'n, thy blessed abode,
         Nor let the heathens say, "And where's your God ?"

   2  Heav'n is thine higher court, there stands thy throne,
      And through the lower worlds thy will is done;
      Our God framed all this earth, these heav'ns he spread;
      But fools adore the gods their hands have made:
         The kneeling crowd, with looks devout, behold
         Their silver saviors, and their saints of gold.

   3  Vain are those artful shapes of eyes and ears;
      The molten image neither sees nor hears;
      Their hands are helpless, nor their feet can move,
      They have no speech, nor thought, nor power, nor love;
         Yet sottish mortals make their long complaints
         To their deaf idols and their moveless saints.

   4  The rich have statues well adorned with gold;
      The poor, content with gods of coarser mold,
      With tools of iron carve the senseless stock,
      Lopt from a tree, or broken from a rock;
         People and priest drive on the solemn trade,
         And trust the gods that saws and hammers made.

   5  Be heav'n and earth amazed! 'Tis hard to say
      Which is more stupid, or their gods or they:
      O Isr'el, trust the Lord; he hears and sees,
      He knows thy sorrows and restores thy peace;
         His worship does a thousand comforts yield,
         He is thy help, and he thy heav'nly shield.

   6  O Britain, trust the Lord: thy foes in vain
      Attempt thy ruin, and oppose his reign;
      had they prevailed, darkness had closed our days,
      And death and silence had forbid his praise:
         But we are saved, and live; let songs arise,
         And Britain bless the God that built the skies.

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Page last modified on: 07/29/2004