Scripture Verse

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


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).


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.