How David, when by sin deceived,
From bad to worse went on!
For when the Holy Spirit’s grieved,
Our strength and guard are gone.
His eye on Bathsheba once fixed,
With poison filled his soul;
He ventured on adultery next,
And murder crowned the whole.
So from a spark of fire at first,
That has not been descried;
A dreadful flame has often burst,
And ravaged far and wide.
When sin deceives it hardens too,
For though he vainly fought
To hide his crimes from public view,
Of God he little thought.
He neither would, or could repent,
No true compunction felt;
’Till God in mercy Nathan sent,
His stubborn heart to melt.
The parable held forth a fact,
Designed his case to show;
But though the picture was exact,
Himself he did not know.
“Thou art the man,” the prophet said,
That word his slumber broke;
And when he owned his sin, and prayed,
The Lord forgiveness spoke.
Let those who think they stand, beware,
For David stood before;
Nor let the fallen soul despair,
For mercy can restore.
John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779