Part 1. v.1-5 Man frail, and God eternal.
1 Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home. 2 Under the shadow of thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; Sufficient is thine arm alone, And our defense is sure. 3 Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting thou art God, To endless years the same. 4 Thy word commands our flesh to dust, "Return, ye sons of men:" All nations rose from earth at first, And turn to earth again. 5 A thousand ages in thy sight Are like an ev'ning gone; Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun. 6 [The busy tribes of flesh and blood, With all their lives and cares, Are carried downwards by the flood, And lost in following years. 7 Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Bears all its sons away; They fly, forgotten, as a dream Dies at the op'ning day. 8 Like flowery fields the nations stand Pleased with the morning light; The flowers beneath the mower's hand Lie with'ring ere 'tis night.] 9 Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Be thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.
Part 2. v. 8--12. Part 2 Infirmities and mortality the effect of sin.
1 Lord, if thine eye surveys our faults, And justice grows severe, Thy dreadful wrath exceeds our thoughts, And burns beyond our fear. 2 Thine anger turns our frame to dust; By one offence to thee Adam with all his sons have lost Their immortality. 3 Life, like a vain amusement, flies, A fable or a song; By swift degrees our nature dies, Nor can our joys be long. 4 'Tis but a few whose days amount To threescore years and ten; And all beyond that short account Is sorrow, toil, and pain. 5 [Our vitals with laborious strife Bear up thc crazy load, And drag those poor remains of life Along thc tiresome road.] 6 Almighty God, reveal thy love, And not thy wrath alone; O let our sweet experience prove The mercies of thy throne! 7 Our souls would learn the heav'nly art T'improve the hours we have, That we may act the wiser part, And live beyond the grave. Part 3. v.18,8&c.
1 Return, O God of love, return; Earth is a tiresome place: How long shall we, thy children, mourn Our absence from thy face ? 2 Let heav'n succeed our painful years, Let sin and sorrow cease, And in proportion to our tears So make our joys increase. 3 Thy wonders to thy servants show, Make thy own work complete; Then shall our souls thy glory know, And own thy love was great. 4 Then shall we shine before thy throne In all thy beauty, Lord; And the poor service we have done Meet a Divine reward.
Man mortal and God eternal A mournful song at a funeral
1 Through ev'ry age, eternal God, I Thou art our rest, our safe abode; High was thy throne ere heav'n was made, Or earth thy humble footstool laid. 2 Long hadst thou reigned ere time began, Or dust was fashioned to a man; And long thy kingdom shall endure When earth and time shall be no more. 3 But man, weak man, is born to die, Made up of guilt and vanity; Thy dreadful sentence, Lord, was just, "Return, ye sinners, to your dust." 4 A thousand of our years amount Scarce to a day in thine account; Like yesterday's departed light, Or the last watch of ending night. PAUSE. 5 Death, like an overflowing stream, Sweeps us away; our life's a dream, An empty tale, a morning flower, Cut down and withered in an hour. 6 [Our age to seventy years is set; How short the time! how frail the state ! And if to eighty we arrive, We rather sigh and groan than live. 7 But O how oft thy wrath appears, And cuts off our expected years! Thy wrath awakes our humble dread; We fear the power that strikes us dead.] 8 Teach us, O Lord, how frail is man; And kindly lengthen out our span, Till a wise care of piety Fit us to die, and dwell with thee.
V.5,10,12 The frailty and shortness of life. 1 Lord, what a feeble piece Is this our mortal frame ! Our life how poor a trifle 'tis, That scarce deserves the name ! 2 Alas, the brittle clay That built our body first! And ev'ry month, and ev'ry day, 'Tis mould'ring back to dust. 3 Our moments fly apace, Nor will our minutes stay; Just like a flood, our hasty days Are sweeping us away. 4 Well, if our days must fly, We'11 keep their end in sight; We'11 spend them all in wisdom's way, And let them speed their flight. 5 They '11 waft us sooner o'er This life's tempestuous sea; Soon we shall reach the peaceful shore Of blessed eternity.