WHEN God descends, a streaming fire
Attends him through the sky;
Thick clouds compose his dark attire,
And vivid lightnings fly.
2 Impervious wreaths of smoke surround,
And hide his awful seat;
Incessant thunders roar around,
Or murmur at his feet.
3 'Twas thus on Sinai’s lofty hill,
Jehovah once appeared;
The trumpet loud proclaimed his will,
And trembling Israel heard.
4 They trembling heard, but straight forgot
The terrors of the day;
They scarcely left the awful spot,
Before they went astray.
5 Their solemn vows they soon revoke,
False and ungrateful prove;
Forget the tempest, fire and smoke,
Their Maker’s wrath and love.
6 What Sinai’s terror ne’er could do,
That Sion's God performs;
'Tis he that creates our hearts anew,
And strengthens feeble worms.
7 He gently leads our wandering souls
In paths of righteousness;
And all our passions he controls,
By his all-powerful grace.
8 From Sinai we to Sion fly,
The city of our God;
Unawed and fearless we draw nigh,
And make it our abode.