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Hymn 54

John Newton


Vanity of Life 66See also Book 2, Hymn 6

Eccl 270

The evils that beset our path

Who can prevent or cure?

We stand upon the brink of death

When most we seem secure.

If we today sweet peace possess,

It soon may be withdrawn;

Some change may plunge us in distress,

Before tomorrow’s dawn.

Disease and pain invade our health

And find an easy prey;

And oft, when least expected, wealth

Takes wings and flies away.

A fever or a blow can shake

Our wisdom’s boasted rule;

And of the brightest genius make

A madman or a fool.

The gourds, from which we look for fruit,

Produce us only pain;

A worm unseen attacks the root,

And all our hopes are vain.

I pity those who seek no more

Than such a world can give;

Wretched they are, and blind, and poor,

And dying while they live.

Since sin has filled the earth with woe,

And creatures fade and die;

Lord wean our hearts from things below,

And fix our hopes on high.

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