The Golden Calf

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John Newton, 1779, from Olney Hymns, vol. 1, hymn 18

When Israel heard the fiery law,
From Sinai's top proclaimed;
Their hearts seemed full of holy awe,
Their stubborn spirits tamed.

2. Yet, as forgetting all they knew,
Ere forty days were past;
With blazing Sinai still in view,
A molten calf they cast.

3. Yea, Aaron, God's anointed priest,
Who on the mount had been
He durst prepare the idol-beast,
And lead them on to sin.

4. Lord, what is man! and what are we,
To recompense thee thus!
In their offence our own we see,
Their story points at us.

5. From Sinai we have heard thee speak,
And from mount Calv'ry too;
And yet to idols oft we seek,
While thou art in our view.

6. Some golden calf, or golden dream,
Some fancied creature-good,
Presumes to share the heart with him,
Who bought the whole with blood.

7. Lord, save us from our golden calves,
Our sin with grief we own;
We would no more be thine by halves,
But live to thee alone.

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