Description: First published in The Worcester Collection, 1794, p. 101. Words by Joseph Hart, 1769, hymn entitled The Brazen Serpent, with six stanzas. Belknap used the last stanza of Hart's hymn in his composition.
Original text and translations
1. When the chosen tribes debated
'Gainst their God, as hardly treated,
And complained their hopes were spilled;
God, for murmuring to requite them,
Fiery serpents sent to bite them,
Lively type of deadly guilt.
2. Stung by these they soon repented:
And their God as soon relented.
Moses prayed: He answer gave.
"Serpents are the beasts that strike them,
Make of brass a serpent like them,
That's the way I choose to save."
3. Vain was bandage, oil, or plaster:
Rankling venom killed the faster;
Till the serpent moses took,
Reared it high, that all might view it,
Bid the bitten look up to it:
Life attended every look.
4. Jesus thus, for sinners smitten,
Wounded, bruised, serpent-bitten,
To his cross directs their faith.
Why should I then poison cherish?
Why despair of care, and perish?
Look, my soul, though stung to death.
5. Thine's (alas!) a lost condition
Works cannot work thee remission:
Nor thy goodness do thee good.
Death's within thee, all about thee;
But the remedy's without thee:
See it in the Savior's blood.
6. See the Lord of glory dying!
See him gasping! Hear him crying!
See his burdened bosom heave!
Look, ye sinners, ye that hung him;
Look, how deep your sins have stung him!
Dying sinners, look, and live.