If for a time the air be calm,
Serene and smooth the sea appears;
And shows no danger to alarm
The inexperienced landsman's fears.
But if the tempest once arise,
The faithless water swells and raves;
Its billows, foaming to the skies,
Disclose a thousand threat'ning graves.
My untried heart thus seemed to me,
(So little of myself I knew)
Smooth as the calm unruffled sea,
But ah! it proved as treach'rous too!
The peace, of which I had a taste,
When Jesus first his love revealed
I fondly hoped would always last,
Because my foes were then concealed.
But when I felt the tempter's pow'r
Rouse my corruptions from their sleep;
I trembled at the stormy hour,
And saw the horrors of the deep.
Now, on presumption's billows borne,
My spirit seemed the LORD to dare;
Now, quick as thought, a sudden turn
Plunged me in gulfs of black despair.
LORD, save me, or I sink, I prayed,
He heard, and bid the tempest cease;
The angry waves his word obeyed,
And all my fears were hushed to peace.
The peace is his, and not my own,
My heart (no better than before)
Is still to dreadful changes prone,
Then let me never trust it more.
John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779