Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

[Originally posted at Study and Faith]

Happy New Year, everyone! In celebration of the new year, I'd like to reprint here the words of a little-known New Year's hymn. (There really are such things, you know.) The title is simply 'Hymn I', and it's taken from John Wesley, A Collection of Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord: and for New-Year's-Day (London, UK: Thomas Cordeux, 1810), 19-20. I hope you won't mind if I modernize the spelling and remove a few minor eccentricities in punctuation.

Wisdom ascribe, and might and praise,
To God who lengthens out our days,
Who spares us yet another year
And lets us see his goodness here;
Happy and wise the time redeem,
And live, my friends, and die to him.

How often when his arm was bared,
Has he our sinful Israel spared!
Let me alone, his mercy cried,
And turned the vengeful bolt aside,
Indulged another kind reprieve,
And strangely suffered us to live.

Laid to the root with conscious awe,
But now the threatening axe we saw,
We saw when Jesus stepped between,
To part the punishment and sin
He pleaded for the blood-bought race,
And God vouchsafed a longer space!

Still in the doubtful balance weighed,
We trembled while the remnant prayed;
The Father heard his Spirit groan
And answered mild, It is my Son!
He let the prayer of faith prevail,
And mercy turned the hovering scale.

Merciful God, how shall we raise
Our hearts to pay thee all thy praise!
Our hearts shall beat for thee alone,
Our lives shall make thy goodness known
Our souls and bodies shall be thine,
A living sacrifice divine.

I and my house will serve the Lord,
Led by the Spirit and the Word;
We plight our faith assembled here,
To serve our God the ensuing year;
And vow when time shall be no more,
Through all eternity to adore.

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