JERICHO; Or, The waters healed.
Though Jericho pleasantly stood,
And looked like a promising soil;
The harvest produced little food,
To answer the husbandman's toil.
The water some property had,
Which poisonous proved to the ground;
The springs were corrupted and bad,
The streams spread a barrenness round.
But soon by the cruse and the salt,
Prepared by Elisha's command,
The water was cured of its fault,
And plenty enriched the land:
An emblem sure this of the grace
On fruitless dead sinners bestowed;
For man is in Jericho's case,
Till cured by the mercy of God.
How noble a creature he seems!
What knowledge, invention and skill!
How large and extensive his schemes!
How much can he do if he will!
His zeal to be learned and wise,
Will yield to no limits or bars;
He measures the earth and the skies,
And numbers and marshals the stars.
Yet still he is barren of good;
In vain are his talents and art;
For sin has infected his blood,
And poisoned the streams of his heart:
Though cockatrice eggs he can hatch,
Or, spider-like, cobwebs can weave;
'Tis madness to labor and watch
For what will destroy or deceive.
But grace, like the salt in the cruse,
When cast in the spring of the soul;
A wonderful change will produce,
Diffusing new life through the whole:
The wilderness blooms like a rose,
The heart which was vile and abhorred;
Now fruitful and beautiful grows,
The garden and joy of the Lord.
John Newton (1725-1807) Olney Hymns, 1779
The Lord proclaims His grace abroad!
"Behold, I change your hearts of stone;
Each shall renounce his idol god,
And serve, henceforth, the Lord alone.
"My grace, a flowing stream, proceeds
To wash your filthiness away;
Ye shall abhor your former deeds,
And learn My statutes to obey.
"My truth the great design ensures,
I give Myself away to you;
You shall be Mine, I will be yours,
Your God unalterably true.
"Yet not unsought or unimplored,
The plenteous grace I shall confer;
No-your whole hearts shall seek the Lord,
I'll put a praying spirit there.
"From the first breath of life divine
Down to the last expiring hour,
The gracious work shall all be Mine,
Begun and ended in My pow'r."
William Cowper (1731-1800) Olney Hymns, 1779