“How Frail is Man” (Psalm 90 by Isaac Watts)


Through every age, eternal God,

Thou art our rest, our safe abode;

High was thy throne ere heav’n was made,

Or earth thy humble footstool laid.

Long hadst thou reigned ere time began,

Or dust was fashioned to a man;

And long thy kingdom shall endure

When earth and time shall be no more.

But man, weak man, is born to die,

Made up of guilt and vanity;

Thy dreadful sentence, Lord, was just,

“Return, ye sinners, to your dust.”

[A thousand of our years amount

Scarce to a day in thine account;

Like yesterday’s departed light,

Or the last watch of ending night.

Death, like an overflowing stream,

Sweeps us away; our life’s a dream,

An empty tale, a morning flower,

Cut down and withered in an hour.]

[Our age to seventy years is set;

How short the time! how frail the state!

And if to eighty we arrive,

We rather sigh and groan than live.

But O how oft thy wrath appears,

And cuts off our expected years!

Thy wrath awakes our humble dread;

We fear the power that strikes us dead.]

Teach us, O Lord, how frail is man;

And kindly lengthen out our span,

Till a wise care of piety

Fit us to die, and dwell with thee.


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