Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sin, like a venomous disease

Image: Isaac Watts (1674-1748).
I have lately taken to searching the scriptural allusions page at as I preach through Mark's Gospel. This Sunday I'll be preaching about Jesus' healing of the Gadarene demoniac in Mark 5:1-20. I ran across this hymn "Sin, like a venomous disease" written in 1707 by the prolific Isaac Watts based on the text. The lyrics seem especially striking after teaching last night at JPBC on "Irresistible Grace." You can listen to the hymn set to the tune St. Andrews (Tans'ur). But it would also go well with St. Anne ("O God Our Help in Ages Past"). Sadly, I do not think we will take time to sing it this Sunday, but it might end up being quoted. Read or sing and enjoy:

Sin, like a venomous disease,
Infects our vital blood;
The only balm is sovereign grace,
And the physician, God.

Our beauty and our strength are fled,
And we draw near to death;
But Christ the Lord recalls the dead
With His almighty breath.

Madness by nature reigns within,
The passions burn and rage,
Till God’s own Son, with skill divine,
The inward fire assuage.

We lick the dust, we grasp the wind,
And solid good despise;
Such is the folly of the mind,
Till Jesus makes us wise.

We give our souls the wounds they feel,
We drink the poisonous gall,
And rush with fury down to hell;
But Heav’n prevents the fall.

The man possessed among the tombs
Cuts his own flesh, and cries;
He foams and raves, till Jesus comes,
And the foul spirit flies.


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