Most of the world knows him as the writer of "Amazing Grace", but John Newton, the slave-ship owner turned Pastor and Preacher, by God's grace, was the writer of many, many other hymns, including this one, one of my personal favourites:
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
He whose word cannot be broken
formed thee for His own abode;
on the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
thou may'st smile at all thy foes.
See! the streams of living waters,
spring form eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint, when such a river
ever flows their thirst to assuage?
Grace which, like the Lord, the Giver,
never fails from age to age.
Round each habitation hovering,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord is near.
Thus they march, their pillar leading,
light by night, and shade by day;
daily on the manna feeding
which he gives them when they pray.
Blest inhabitants of Zion,
washed in the Redeemer's blood!
Jesus, whom their souls rely on,
makes them kings and priests to God.
'Tis his love his people raises
over self to reign as kings:
and as priests, his solemn praises
each for a thank-offering brings.
Saviour, since of Zion's city,
I through grace a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy Name.
Fading is the worldling's pleasure,
all his boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasure
none but Zion's children know.
My favourite verse is the last one, sometimes it reads "Saviour, if of Zion's city..." but I prefer this reading - it speaks more of the wonderful assurance children of the living God have, knowing that they are aliens and strangers in this world, and belonging to another. It reminds me that each day, no matter what the world thinks of me, I am a Christian, saved by grace, glorying in my wonderful Saviour's name. The things of this earth quickly spoil and fade, but I will live for ever, and so will the joys and treasure of the heavenly city where I shall dwell forever.