He lives who lives to God alone,
      And all are dead beside;

For the year 1793

He lives who lives to God alone,
      And all are dead beside;
For other source than God is none
      Whence life can be supplied.

To live to God is to requite
      His love as best we may:
To make his precepts our delight,
      His promises our stay.

But life, within a narrow ring
      Of giddy joys comprised,
Is falsely named, and no such thing,
      But rather death disguised.

Can life in them deserve the name,
      Who only live to prove
For what poor toys they can disclaim
      An endless life above?

Who, much diseased, yet nothing feel;
      Much menaced, nothing dread;
Have wounds, which only God can heal,
      Yet never ask his aid:

Who deem his house a useless place,
      Faith, want of common sense;
And ardour in the Christian race,
      A hypocrite’s pretence?

Who trample order; and the day
      Which God asserts his own
Dishonour with unhallow’d play,
      And worship chance alone?

If scorn of God’s commands, impress’d
      On word and deed, imply
The better part of man unbless’d
      With life that cannot die;

Such want it, and that want uncured
      Till man resigns his breath,
Speaks him a criminal, assured
      Of everlasting death.

Sad period to a pleasant course!
      Yet so will God repay
Sabbaths profaned without remorse,
      And mercy cast away.

~ William Cowper

More Stanzas on Death
and Stanzas on Death II

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