May not the Sovereign LORD on high,
Dispense His favours as He will,
Choose some to life while others die,
And yet be just and gracious still?
Shall man reply against the LORD,
And call His Maker’s ways unjust,
The thunder of whose dreadful word
Can crush a thousand worlds to dust?
But, O my soul, if truths so bright
Should dazzle and confound thy sight,
Yet still His written will obey,
And wait the great decisive day!
God’s ways are just, His counsels wise,
No darkness can prevent His eyes;
No thought can fly, nor thing can move,
Unknown to Him that sits above.
He in the thickest darkness dwells,
Performs His work, the cause conceals,
But though His methods are unknown,
Judgement and Truth support His Throne.
In Heaven and earth and air and seas,
He executes His firm decrees;
And by His saints it stands confessed,
That what He does is ever best.
Wait then, my soul, submissive wait,
Prostrate thyself before His awful seat,
And midst the terrors of His rod,
Trust in a wise and gracious God.
Not all the outward forms on earth,
Nor rites that God hath given,
Nor will of man, nor blood, nor birth,
Can raise a soul to Heaven.
The Sovereign will of God alone
Creates us heirs of grace
Both in the image of His Son,
A new peculiar race.
Thus quickened souls awake and rise
From the long sleep of death;
On heavenly things they fix their eyes,
And praise employs their breath.
How oft have sin and Satan strove,
To rend my soul from Thee, my God,
But everlasting is Thy love,
And Jesus seals it with His blood.
The Gospel bears my spirit up,
A faithful and unchanging God,
Lays the foundation of my hope,
In oaths and promises and blood.
Not as the world, the Saviour gives:
He is no fickle friend;
Whom once He loves, He never leaves,
But loves him to the end.
Though thousand snares enclose his feet,
Not one shall hold him fast;
Whatever dangers he may meet,
He shall get safe at last.
The spirit that would this truth withstand,
Would pull God’s temple down,
Wrest Jesus’ sceptre from His hand,
And spoil Him of His crown.
Satan might then full victory boast,
The church might wholly fall;
If one believer may be lost,
It follows, so may all.
But Christ in every age has proved,
His purchase firm and true;
If this foundation be removed,
What shall the righteous do?
– Christopher Ness (ca. 1700)