I have begun to read through the hymns of the great hymn-writers as a part of my morning routine of prayer and study. It has been a rich addition for my soul. Poetic verse has the ability to unlock a dimension of our being that is untouched by mere intellectual input. Think about it. How many lectures from your college classes do you remember? Now, finish this line, “Just a small town girl . . . ”
Our mind is soft clay, and poetic verse has the ability to stamp itself deep within our memory. Thus, to begin the year of 2014, here is John Newton’s powerful hymn, which asks us to pause and consider how we shall spend our lives in this new year:
See! another year is gone!
Quickly have the seasons passed!
This we enter now upon
May to many prove our last.
Mercy hitherto has spared,
But have mercies been improved?
Let us ask, am I prepared
Should I be this year removed?
Some we now no longer see,
Who their mortal race have run;
Seemed as fair for life as we,
When the former year begun;
Some, but who God only knows,
Who are here assembled now,
Ere the present year shall close,
To the stroke of death must bow.
Life a field of battle is,
Thousands fall within our view;
And the next death-bolt that flies,
May be sent to me or you:
While we preach, and while we hear,
Help us, Lord, each one, to think,
Vast eternity is near,
I am standing on the brink.
If from guilt and sin set free,
By the knowledge of Thy grace;
Welcome, then, the call will be
To depart and see Thy face:
To Thy saints, while here below,
With new years, new mercies come;
But the happiest year they know
Is their last, which leads them home.
Yes indeed. The longing of the believing soul is such that it aches for the day when we are ushered from this life into the world of joy and eternal delight. May God give you grace this year, and speed you along the pathway to Heaven. May there be no dallying or delaying in your heavenly pilgrimage! Soon, my friends, our faith will be sight, and all our prayers will melt into praise! Oh, Lord Jesus, haste the day!