A Hymn and Prayer for the New Year

Now, gracious Lord, thine arm reveal,
And make thy glory known;
Now let us all thy presence feel,
And soften hearts of stone!

Help us to venture near thy throne,
And plead a Savior’s name;
For all that we can call our own,
Is vanity and shame.

From all the guilt of former sin
May mercy set us free;
And let the year we now begin,
Begin and end with thee.

Send down thy Spirit from above,
That saints may love thee more;
And sinners now may learn to love
Who never loved before.

And when before thee we appear
In our eternal home;
May growing numbers worship here,
And praise thee in our room.

John Newton (1725-1807)

The Coming Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Behold the islands with their kings,
And Europe her best tribute brings;
From north to south the princes meet,
To pay their homage at His feet.

There Persia, glorious to behold,
There India shines in eastern gold;
And barb’rous nations at His word
Submit, and bow, and own their Lord.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His Name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.

Blessings abound wherever He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.

Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.

Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

Great God, whose universal sway
The known and unknown worlds obey,
Now give the kingdom to Thy Son,
Extend His power, exalt His throne.

The scepter well becomes His hands;
All Heav’n submits to His commands;
His justice shall avenge the poor,
And pride and rage prevail no more.

With power He vindicates the just,
And treads th’oppressor in the dust:
His worship and His fear shall last
Till hours, and years, and time be past.

As rain on meadows newly mown,
So shall He send his influence down:
His grace on fainting souls distills,
Like heav’nly dew on thirsty hills.

The heathen lands, that lie beneath
The shades of overspreading death,
Revive at His first dawning light;
And deserts blossom at the sight.

The saints shall flourish in His days,
Dressed in the robes of joy and praise;
Peace, like a river, from His throne
Shall flow to nations yet unknown.

–Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

The Unity of God

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” Deuteronomy 6:4

Eternal God! Almighty cause
Of earth, and seas, and worlds unknown;
All things are subject to thy laws;
All things depend on thee alone.

Thy glorious being singly stands,
Of all within itself possessed;
Controlled by none are thy commands;
Thou from thyself alone art blest.

No rival can thine honor claim,
No higher deity appears:
No equal bears thy awful name,
Nor fellow-God thy glory shares.

To thee alone ourselves we owe;
Let heaven and earth due homage pay;
All other gods we disavow,
Deny their claims, renounce their sway.

On thee we fix our cheerful trust,
To thee with humble hope aspire,
And quit our idols, earth and dust,
Born up towards God with full desire.

Spread thy great name through heathen lands;
Their idol deities dethrone;
Reduce the world to thy commands;
And reign, as thou art, God alone.

–Simon Browne (1680–1732)

O Lord, Look Down From Heaven, Behold

O Lord, look down from Heaven, behold
And let Thy pity waken:
How few are we within Thy fold,
Thy saints by men forsaken!
True faith seems quenched on every hand,
Men suffer not Thy Word to stand;
Dark times have us o’ertaken.

With fraud which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded;
Their hearts are not with one consent
On Thy pure doctrine grounded.
While they parade with outward show,
They lead the people to and fro,
In error’s maze astounded.

May God root out all heresy
And of false teachers rid us
Who proudly say: “Now, where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail;
What we determine cannot fail;
We own no lord and master.”

Therefore saith God, “I must arise,
The poor My help are needing;
To Me ascend My people’s cries,
And I have heard their pleading.
For them My saving Word shall fight
And fearlessly and sharply smite,
The poor with might defending.”

As silver tried by fire is pure
From all adulteration,
So through God’s Word shall men endure
Each trial and temptation.
Its light beams brighter through the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.

Thy truth defend, O God, and stay
This evil generation;
And from the error of their way
Keep Thine own congregation.
The wicked everywhere abound
And would Thy little flock confound;
But Thou art our salvation.

–Martin Luther

Prayer for Ministers

I’ve just started studying the life and ministry of John Newton (1725-1807), and came across this great hymn he wrote called a “Prayer for Ministers.” It is excellent; I’ve been meditating over it for about a week now.

Chief Shepherd of thy chosen sheep,
From death and sin set free!
May ev’ry under-shepherd keep
His eye intent on thee!

With plenteous grace their hearts prepare
To execute thy will;
Compassion, patience, love, and care,
And faithfulness and skill.

Inflame their minds with holy zeal,
Their flocks to feed and teach;
And let them live, and let them feel
The sacred truths they preach.

Oh! never let the sheep complain
That toys, which fools amuse,
Ambition, pleasure, praise, or gain
Debase the shepherd’s views.

He that for these forebears to feed
The souls whom Jesus loves,
Whate’er he may profess or plead,
An idol shepherd proves.

The sword of God shall break his arm,
A blast shall blind his eye;
His word shall have no power to warm,
His gifts shall all grow dry.

O Lord, avert this heavy woe,
Let all thy shepherds say!
And grace, and strength, on each bestow,
To labor while ’tis day.