Scripture Verse

He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. Psalm 107:33–4


Isaac Watts (1674–1748)

Words: Is­aac Watts, The Psalms of Da­vid 1719. Colonies planted; or, nations blest and punished. A psalm for New-England.

Music: Holborn Hill St. Al­ban’s Tune Book (🔊 pdf nwc).


When God, pro­voked with dar­ing crimes,
Scourges the mad­ness of the times,
He turns their fields to bar­ren sand,
And dries the ri­vers from the land.

His word can raise the springs again,
And make the wi­thered mount­ains green;
Send show­ery bless­ings from the skies,
And har­vests in the des­ert rise.

Where no­thing dwelt but beasts of prey,
Or men as fierce and wild as they,
He bids th’op­pressed and poor re­pair,
And builds them towns and ci­ties there.

They sow the fields, and trees they plant,
Whose year­ly fruit sup­plies their want;
Their race grows up from fruit­ful stocks,
Their wealth in­creases with their flocks.

Thus they are blest; but if they sin,
He lets the hea­then nations in,
A sav­age crew in­vades their lands,
Their princ­es die by bar­bar­ous hands.

Their cap­tive sons, ex­posed to scorn,
Wander un­pi­tied and for­lorn:
The coun­try lies un­fenced, un­tilled,
And de­so­la­tion spreads the field.

Yet if the hum­bled na­tion mourns,
Again His dread­ful hand He turns;
Again He makes their ci­ties thrive,
And bids the dy­ing church­es live.

The right­eous with a joy­ful sense,
Admire the works of Pro­vi­dence;
And tongues of athe­ists shall no more
Blaspheme the God that saints adore.

How few with pi­ous care re­cord
These won­drous deal­ings of the Lord!
But wise ob­serv­ers still shall find
The Lord is ho­ly, just and kind.