Scripture Verse

What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Matthew 16:26

Introduction

portrait
William Cowper
1731–1800

Words: Will­iam Cow­per, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 1, num­ber 55. Van­i­ty of the world.

Music: Hol­born Hill St. Al­ban’s Tune Book (🔊 pdf nwc).

Lyrics

God gives His mercies to be spent;
Your hoard will do your soul no good:
Gold is a blessing only lent,
Repaid by giving others food.

The world’s esteem is but a bribe,
To buy their peace you sell your own;
The slave of a vainglorious tribe,
Who hate you while they make you known.

The joy that vain amusements give,
O! sad conclusion that it brings!
The honey of a crowded hive,
Defended by a thousand stings.

’Tis thus the world rewards the fools
That live upon her treacherous smiles:
She leads them, blindfold, by her rules,
And ruins all whom she beguiles.

God knows the thousands who go down
From pleasure into endless woe;
And with a long despairing groan
Blaspheme their Maker as they go.

Oh fearful thought! be timely wise;
Delight but in a Sav­ior’s charms,
And God shall take you to the skies,
Embraced in ev­er­last­ing arms.