Justice (Smart)

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Hymn V. Justice  (1771) 
by Christopher Smart
From the Hymns for the Amusement of Children (1771).
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HYMN V.

JUSTICE.


O let not fraud 'gainst me prevail,
      My God, my Christ avow'd;
Which weigh'st the mountains in thy scale,
      And ballancest the cloud.[1]

5 And still peculiar on my side,[2]
      Keep me from rigour free;
Make me forgive in manly pride,
      All that exact on me.[3]

Pay my demander more than due,
      10With measure heap'd and press'd;
And rather welcome than pursue,
      My brother when distress'd.

O give me sense and grace to know
      Thy will, and check my own;
15In heav'n above, in earth below,
      The Lord is judge alone.


1771


Notes

  1. 3-4. Which weigh'st the mountains in thy scale, / And ballancest the cloud... — "scale" is the traditional symbol of Justice and the biblical symbol of Divine Omnipotence. Cf. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” Isaiah 40:12; “Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?” Isaiah 37:16.
  2. 5. And still peculiar on my side — term "peculiar" is appropriate to God’s chosen people; so Jesus is “peculiar” to his faithful followers. Cf.: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…” 1 Peter 2:9.
  3. 8 All that exact on me... — "exact" means here "make demand" or "oppress".
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.