My harp untuned, and laid aside,
(To cheerful hours the harp belongs)
My cruel foes, insulting cried,
"Come, sing us one of Zion's songs."
Alas! when sinners, blindly bold,
At Zion scoff, and Zion's King;
When zeal declines, and love grows cold,
Is this a day for me to sing?
Time was, whene'er the saints I met,
With joy and praise my bosom glowed;
But now, like Eli, sad I sit,
And tremble for the ark of God.
While thus to grief my soul gave way,
To see the work of GOD decline;
Methought I heard my Savior say,
"Dismiss thy fears, the ark is mine.
Though for a time I hide my face,
Rely upon my love and pow'r;
Still wrestle at a throne of grace,
And wait for a reviving hour.
Take down thy long neglected harp,
I've seen thy tears, and heard thy prayer;
The winter season has been sharp,
But spring shall all its wastes repair."
LORD, I obey, my hopes revive,
Come join with me, ye saints, and sing;
Our foes in vain against us strive;
For God will help and healing bring.
John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779.