Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till he please I cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of love sees fit.
Thrice happy man! Thy Maker’s care
Shall keep thee from the fowler’s snare;
Satan, the fowler, who betrays
Unguarded souls a thousand ways.
Just as a hen protects her brood
From birds of prey that seek their blood,
Under her feathers, so the Lord
Makes His own arm His people’s guard.
If burning beams of noon conspire
To dart a pestilential fire,
God is their life; His wings are spread
To shield them with a healthful shade.
If vapors with malignant breath
Rise thick, and scatter midnight death,
Israel is safe; the poisoned air
Grows pure, if Israel’s God be there.
What though a thousand at thy side,
At thy right hand ten thousand died,
Thy God His chosen people saves
Amongst the dead, amidst the graves.
So when He sent His angel down
To make His wrath in Egypt known,
And slew their sons, His careful eye
Passed all the doors of Jacob by.
But if the fire, or plague, or sword,
Receive commission from the Lord
To strike His saints among the rest,
Their very pains and deaths are blest.
The sword, the pestilence, or fire,
Shall but fulfill their best desire;
From sins and sorrows set them free,
And bring Thy children, Lord, to Thee.
Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David 1719