Psalm 90.

Man mortal, and God eternal.
A mournful song at a funeral.

1  Thro' every age, eternal God,
Thou art our rest, our safe abode;
High was thy throne ere heaven was made,
Or earth thy humble footstool laid.

2 Long hadst thou reign'd ere time began,
Or dust was fashion'd 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.]


5 Death like an overflowing stream
Sweeps us away; our life's a dream;
An empty tale; a morning flower
Cut down and wither'd in an hour.

6 [Our age to seventy years is set;
How short the term! 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.

Psalm 90 - Part One.

Verses 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 defence is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth receiv'd 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 evening 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 thy 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 opening day.

8 Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleas'd with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower's hand
Lie withering 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.

Psalm 90 - Part Two.

Verses 8-12. Infirmities and mortality the effect of sin.

1 Lord, if thine eyes survey our faults,
And justice grow 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 the crazy load,
And drag those poor remains of life
Along the 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 heavenly art
T' improve the hours we have,
That we may act the wiser part,
And live beyond the grave.

Psalm 90 - Part Three.

Verses 13ff. Breathing after heaven.

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 heaven 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.

Psalm 90.

Verses 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 every month, and every day
'Tis mouldering 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'll keep their end in sight,
We'll spend them all in wisdom's way,
And let them speed their flight.

5 They'll waft us sooner o'er
This life's tempestuous sea:
Soon we shall reach the peaceful shore
Of blest eternity.


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