Metrical 'New Version' (Tate & Brady)
1 The heavens declare thy glory, Lord,
which that alone can fill;
The firmament and stars express
their great Creator's skill.
2 The dawn of each returning day,
fresh beams of knowledge brings:
From the dark returns of night
new instruction springs.
3 Their powerful language to no realm
or region is confined,
'Tis nature's voice, and understood
alike by all mankind.
4 Their doctrine does its sacred sense
through earth's extent display;
Whose bright contents the circling sun
does round the world convey.
5 No bridegroom for his nuptials dressed,
has such a cheerful face;
No giant does like him rejoice,
to run his glorious race.
6 From east to west, from west to east,
his restless course he goes;
And through his progress cheerful light,
and vital warmth bestows.
7 God's perfect law converts the soul,
reclaims from false desires,
With sacred wisdom his sure word
the ignorant inspires.
8 The statutes of the Lord are just,
and bring sincere delight;
His pure commands in search of truth,
assist the feeblest light.
9 His perfect worship here is fixed,
on sure foundations laid:
His equal laws are in the scales
of truth and justice weighed.
10 Of more esteem than golden mines,
or gold refined with skill:
More sweet than honey, or the drops
that from the comb distill.
11 My trusty counselors they are,
and friendly warnings give;
Divine rewards attend on those,
who by thy precepts live.
12 But what frail man observes, how oft,
he does from virtue fail?
cleanse me from my secret faults,
thou God that knowest them ail:
13 Let no presumptuous sin, O Lord,
dominion have over me,
That by thy grace, preserved, I may
the great transgression flee.
14 So shall my prayer and praises be
with thy acceptance blest;
And I secure, on thy defense,
my strength and Savior rest.
PART 1 (S. M.)
The books of nature and scripture. For a Lord's-day morning
Behold, the lofty sky
Declares its Maker God,
And all his starry works on high
Proclaim his power abroad.
The darkness and the light
Still keep their course the same;
While night to day, and day to night,
Divinely teach his name.
In every different land
Their general voice is known;
They show the wonders of his hand,
And orders of his throne.
Ye British lands, rejoice,
Here he reveals his word;
We are not left to nature's voice,
To bid us know the Lord.
His statutes and commands
Are set before our eyes;
He puts his gospel in our hands,
Where our salvation lies.
His laws are just and pure,
His truth without deceit,
His promises for ever sure,
And his rewards are great.
Not honey to the taste
Affords so much delight,
Nor gold that has the furnace passed
So much allures the sight.
While of thy works I sing,
Thy glory to proclaim,
Accept the praise, my God, my King
In my Redeemer's name.
PART 2 (S. M.)
God's word most excellent; or, Sincerity and watchfulness. For a Lord's-day morning
Behold, the morning sun
Begins his glorious way;
His beams through all the nations run,
And life and light convey.
But where the gospel comes
It spreads diviner light;
It calls dead sinners from their tombs,
And gives the blind their sight.
How perfect is thy word!
And all thy judgments just!
For ever sure thy promise, Lord,
And men securely trust.
My gracious God, how plain
Are thy directions given!
O may I never read in vain,
But find the path to heaven!
I hear thy word with love,
And I would fain obey:
Send thy good Spirit from above
To guide me, lest I stray.
O who can ever find
The errors of his ways?
Yet with a bold, presumptuous mind
I would not dare transgress.
Warn me of every sin,
Forgive my secret faults,
And cleanse this guilty soul of mine,
Whose crimes exceed my thoughts.
While with my heart and tongue
I spread thy praise abroad,
Accept the worship and the song,
My Savior and my God.
ANOTHER PARAPHRASE (L. M.)
The books of nature and of Scripture compared; or, The glory and success of the Gospel
The heavens declare thy glory, Lord,
In every star thy wisdom shines
But when our eyes behold thy word,
We read thy name in fairer lines.
The rolling sun, the changing light,
And nights and days, thy power confess
But the blest volume thou hast writ
Reveals thy justice and thy grace.
Sun, moon, and stars convey thy praise
Round the whole earth, and never stand:
So when thy truth began its race,
It touched and glanced on every land.
Nor shall thy spreading gospel rest
Till through the world thy truth has run,
Till Christ has all the nations blest
That see the light or feel the sun.
Great Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Bless the dark world with heavenly light;
Thy gospel makes the simple wise,
Thy laws are pure, thy judgments right.
Thy noblest wonders here we view
In souls renewed and sins forgiven;
Lord, cleanse my sins, my soul renew,
And make thy word my guide to heaven.
(88. 88. 88)
The books of nature and of scripture
Great God, the heavens' well-ordered frame
Declares the glories of thy name:
There thy rich works of wonder shine;
A thousand starry beauties there,
A thousand radiant marks appear
Of boundless power and skill divine.
From night to day, from day to night,
The dawning and the dying light
Lectures of heavenly wisdom read;
With silent eloquence they raise
Our thoughts to our Creator's praise,
And neither sound nor language need.
Yet their divine instructions run
Far as the journeys of the sun,
And every nation knows their voice:
The sun, like some young bridegroom dressed,
Breaks from the chambers of the east,
Rolls round, and makes the earth rejoice.
Where'er he spreads his beams abroad,
He smiles and speaks his Maker God
All nature joins to show thy praise:
Thus God in ev'ry creature shines;
Fair is the book of nature's lines,
But fairer is thy book of grace.
I love the volumes of thy word;
What light and joy those leaves afford
To souls benighted and distressed!
Thy precepts guide my doubtful way,
Thy fear forbids my feet to stray,
Thy promise leads my heart to rest.
From the discoveries of thy law
The perfect rules of life I draw;
These are my study and delight:
Not honey so invites the taste,
Nor gold that hath the furnace past
Appears so pleasing to the sight.
Thy threatenings wake my slumbering eyes,
And warn me where my danger lies;
But 'tis thy blessed gospel, Lord,
That makes my guilty conscience clean,
Converts my soul, subdues my sin,
And gives a free, but large reward.
Who knows the errors of his thoughts?
My God, forgive my secret faults,
And from presumptuous sins restrain:
Accept my poor attempts of praise,
That I have read thy book of grace,
And book of nature, not in vain.