Backsliding and forgiveness; or, Sin punished and saints saved.
Great God, how oft did Isr'el prove
By turns thine anger and thy love!
There in a glass our hearts may see
How fickle and how false they be.
How soon the faithless Jews forgot
The dreadful wonders God had wrought!
Then they provoke him to his face,
Nor fear his power, nor trust his grace.
The Lord consumed their years ill pain,
And made their travels long and vain;
A tedious march through unknown ways
Wore out their strength, and spent their days.
Oft when they saw their brethren slain
They mourned, and sought the Lord again;
Called him the Rock of their abode,
Their high Redeemer, and their God.
Their prayers and vows before him rise
As flatt'ring words or solemn lies,
While their rebellious tempers prove
False to his cov'nant and his love.
Yet did his sovereign grace forgive
The men who not deserved to live;
His anger oft away he turned,
Or else with gentle flame it burned.
He saw their flesh was weak and frail,
He saw temptations still prevail;
The God of Abram loved them still,
And led them to his holy hill.