Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed. Then I said,
For how long, Lord? And He answered:
Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.
Words: Philip Doddridge (1702–1751). Published posthumously in Hymns Founded on Various Texts in the Holy Scriptures, by Job Orton (Shropshire, England: Joshua Eddowes & John Cotton, 1755), number 83:
The stupidity of Israel, and of Britain lamented.
Lord, when Thine Israel we survey,
We in their crimes discern our own;
And if Thou turn our prayer away,
Our misery must, like theirs, be known.
To us Thy prophets have been sent
With words of terror and of love;
But nor the vengeance, nor the grace,
Ten thousand stubborn hearts will move.
Our eyes are blind, and deaf our ears;
Our hearts are hardened into stone;
As we would bar Thy mercy out,
And leave a way for wrath alone.
Justly our God might give us up
To plague and famine and the sword;
Till towns and cities, rich and fair,
Lay desolate without a Lord.
O’er bleeding wounds of slaughtered friends
Rivers of helpless grief might flow,
Till the fierce conqueror’s haughty rage
Dragged us to chains and slaughter, too.
But spare a nation long Thine own,
And show new miracles of grace,
’Tis Thine to heal the deaf and blind,
And wake the dead to life and praise.