By terrible things in righteousness will you answer us, O God of our salvation; who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth…
Plutarch affirms that the cruel wars which followed the march of Alexander introduced the civility, language and arts of Greece into the savage East; introduced marriage, built seventy cities, and united hostile nations under one government. The barbarians who broke up the Roman Empire did not arrive a day too soon. Schiller says, "The Thirty Years' War made Germany a nation." Rough, selfish despots serve men immensely, as Henry VIII. in the contest with the popes; as the infatuation no less than the wisdom of Cromwell; as the ferocity of the Russian Czars; as the fanaticism of the French regicides of 1789. The frost which kills the harvest of a year saves the harvests of a century by destroying the weevil or the locust. Wars, fires, plagues, break up immovable routine, clear the ground of rotten races and dens of distemper, and open a fair field to new men.
(R. W. Emerson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: