Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching. Luke 12:37
Words: Joseph Addison, in The Spectator, London, issue 489, September 20, 1712. The hymn followed an essay on
Greatness as a source of pleasure to the imagination, with special reference to the ocean.
Great painters do not only give us Landskips of Gardens, Groves, and Meadows, but very often employ their Pencils on Sea-Pieces. I could wish you would follow their example. If this small Sketch may deserve a Place among your Works, I shall accompany it with a Divine ode, made by a Gentleman upon the Conclusion of his Travels.
How are Thy servants blest, O Lord!
How sure is their defense!
Eternal wisdom is their guide,
Their help Omnipotence.
In foreign realms, and lands remote,
Supported by Thy care,
Through burning climes they pass unhurt,
And breathe in tainted air.
Thy mercy sweetened every soil,
Made every region please:
The hoary Alpine hills it warmed,
And smoothed the Tyrrhene seas.
Think, O my soul, devoutly think,
How with affrighted eyes
Thou sawest the wide-extended deep
In all its horrors rise!
Confusion dwelt on every face,
And fear in every heart;
When waves on waves, and gulfs on gulfs,
O’ercame the pilot’s art.
When by the dreadful tempest borne
High on the broken wave,
They know Thou art not slow to hear,
Nor impotent to save.
The storm is laid, the winds retire,
Obedient to Thy will,
The sea, that roars at Thy command,
At Thy command is still.
From all our griefs and fears, O Lord,
Thy mercy sets us free;
While in the confidence of prayer
Our hearts take hold on Thee.
In midst of dangers, fears and death,
Thy goodness we adore;
We praise Thee for Thy mercies past,
And humbly hope for more
Our life, while Thou preservest life,
A sacrifice shall be;
And death, when death shall be our lot,
Shall join our souls to Thee.