Balaam's Wish

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John Newton, 1779, from Olney Hymns, vol. 1, hymn 20

How blest the righteous are
When they resign their breath!
No wonder Balaam wished to share
In such a happy death.

2. Oh! let me die, said he,
The death the righteous do;
When life is ended let me be
Found with the faithful few.

3. The force of truth how great!
When enemies confess,
None but the righteous whom they hate,
A solid hope possess.

4. But Balaam's wish was vain,
His heart was insincere;
He thirsted for unrighteous gain,
And sought a portion here.

5. He seemed the Lord to know,
And to offend him loth;
But Mammon proved his overthrow,
For none can serve them both.

6. May you, my friends, and I,
Warning from hence receive;
If like the righteous we would die,
To choose the life they live.

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