Though in the Outward [Earthly] Church Below
John Newton (1725–1807)
Though in the outward church below,
The wheat and tares together grow;
Jesus ere long will weed the crop,
And pluck the tares in anger up.
For soon the reaping time will come,
And angels shout the harvest home.
Will it relieve their horrors there,
To recollect their stations here;
How much they heard, how much they knew,
How much among the wheat they grew?
No! this will aggravate their case,
They perished under means of grace,
To them the word of life and faith
Became an instrument of death.
We seem alike when thus we meet,
Strangers might think we all were wheat;
But to the Lord’s all-searching eyes,
Each heart appears without disguise.
The tares are spared for various ends,
Some for the sake of praying friends:
Others the Lord, against their will,
Employs his counsels to fulfil.
But though they grow so tall and strong,
His plan will not require them long:
In harvest, when he saves his own,
The tares shall into hell be thrown.
Oh! awful thought, and is it so?
Must all mankind the harvest know?
Is every man a wheat or tare?
Me, for that harvest, Lord, prepare.