Reflection on the Past Year, December 3, 1748

Another year is fled, forever gone,

And what, where am I now, reflect my Soul

With conscious Grief Shame and Shame Grief and yet with word

Well mayst thou – what a numerous train of days,

How many Months, how many Years are lost, 5

Lost utterly – When Cesar lost a day,

Perhaps he wond’ring sigh’d, “But whats a Day?”

I’ve lost a thousand yet a Day to me

Is of as great importance as to Cesar.

But what is losing time? ’tis doing nothing,

A want of doing or receiving Good, 10

’Tis a mere negative substrated Evil,

And that how small compar’d with greater Ones.

I’ve more than lost, I have misimprov’d my time,

Crouded it thick full with trifles, follies, sins,

Greatly abus’d it – O what loads of guilt 15

Have I heap’d up mountainous to the Skies,

And yet what cause for wonder Love and praise.

Yet has the mighty Pow’r that which gave me being

Still lengthened out forbearance, mercy strong

And stronger still, Almighty pow’r and Goodness 20

Has fed and cloath’d me too! What countless mercies

Are shower’d in rich profusion round my head.

These Blessings great yet greater still remain

Beyond the reach of praise, surpasses Wonder,

Grace rich, free, infinite, I humbly hope 25

Tho’ trembling fearing is to me extended.

Tho’ I have greatly slighted gospel Mercies,

Have heard unheeded Wisdom’s ached voice

And scarce regarded Providential care,

Yet Grace divine I hope has kept me still 30

From crimes of deepest Dye and has not left

This wond’ring rebel heart to sink in guilt.

I’m penitent and harden’d but has shewn me

My sinful wretchedness, my deadly vileness,

And taught my Soul to mourn, with sighs repented. 35

Oh may my heart (yet hard) be humbled more

And each desire, implanted in my breast

By Grace (if such these are), grows stronger far.

Am I convinc’d that Earth’s whole store of pleasure

Are variety and nothing? sure I am. 40

Ev’n in the enjoyment secret sighs arise;

Disgusted, pain’d, I turn away abhorred,

Vexation, heartfelt pangs succeeding pangs,

And rend my trembling Heart Soul with grief, with anguish.

But whence this knowledge? Does the pain convince, 45

Or is it heaven that whispers to my soul

And tells me Happiness isn’t below?

Alas, I know not yet I hope ’tis heaven

Else why these Wishes, these intense desires

For true substantial Bliss permanent delight? 50

If Heaven inspires not, why is faith in Jesus

And wholeness of heart and love to Jesus God

So ardently desir’d – But Ah, my heart

Soon sinks, tempted, betray’d again by sin.

I meanly stoop to despicable Toys 55

And learn again their empty nothingness.

This the amount of pleasure, what of trouble?

This springs not from the vain deceitful root

Of momentary pleasure, this alas

Is painful too, my drooping Spine to sink, 60

Doubting, desponding, ready to repine,

Distrustful of a gracious Father’s care.

A gracious Father may I call thee so,

My sovereign Lord I humbly hope I may.

Thy hand which has afflicted still sustain’d, 65

And ^if^ my hopes are true has caus’d each sorrow

To work for Good, has brought my feet

To seek thy favour as my only bliss.

Thy ways are righteous, blessed be thy name,

For all thy mercies, all thy boundless goodness, 70

O teach my Soul to know and love thee more.

Lord strengthen me by thy almighty grace

To hope and trust in thee with firm reliance,

Beholding Jesus with an Eye of faith

As my Redeemer, reconciling Friend. 75

Then Cares and Woes shall vanish from my sight

And peace celestial calm my anxious breath

While faith ^and^ hope prevailing raise my soul.

Earth’s Vanities allure not, I despise them.

My gracious God, O give me a strong faith 80

And Heaven-born hope and ardent Love to thee

That I may never disobey thee more.

Then tun’d to praise my joyful tongue shall sing

Thy kindness, thy forbearance, mercy, truth,

The riches of thy grace but there I’m lost, 85

Nor Man’s nor Angel’s tongue can reach the height

Of that exalted Subject yet a worm,

Low in the Dust, may tremble wonder and adore.

Yes, dearest Lord, my praise tho’ faint and mean

Shall be the warmest ardour of my Soul, 90

My strongest transport, my sublimest joy

While fleeting Life remains. And when by death

My spirit freed shall drop this load of clay,

And rise with Angels, then a bolder praise

Shall fill my raptur’d Soul and tune my tongue 95

To notes divine; in sweetest softest Harmony

And perfect Joy I’ll dwell on Jesus’ name

Forever. –

Text: STE 10/2. Cf. Hannah Wakeford’s poem.