“On slipp’ry rocks I see them stand…”

Tonight I drove up to Newton to sing with one of the Boston-area shope note singings. In New England shape note singing groups, anyone can call out the number of a hymn and stand up to lead it.

“Number 183,” someone called out, adding: “This one is dedicated to all the Wall Street investment bankers.”

People started chuckling as they turned to number 183 and saw the words which had been written by Isaac Watts back in 1719:

“Lord, what a thoughtless wretch was I,
To mourn, and murmur and repine,
To see the wicked placed on high,
In pride and robes of honor shine.

“But oh, their end, their dreadful end,
Thy sanctuary taught me so,
On slipp’ry rocks I see them stand,
And fiery billows roll below.”

Universalist though I am, I chuckled too. For a moment. Until I realized that those Wall Street investment bankers have placed us all on slipp’ry rocks, financially speaking….

Be that as it may, we all sang the song with great gusto.

2 thoughts on ““On slipp’ry rocks I see them stand…”

  1. E

    Or to quote Wendell Berry at you again:

    When I hear the stock market has fallen,
    I say, “Long live gravity! Long live
    stupidity, error, and greed in the palaces
    of fantasy capitalism!” I think
    an economy should be based on thrift,
    on taking care of things, not on theft,
    usury, seduction, waste, and ruin.

    I agree, but the shifting from one type of economy to the other, if we can shift for the good, will still be painful for far to many.

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