Williams possessed to a considerable extent the
Shakspearean faculty of seeing many aspects of
human nature, especially on its religious side.
His hymns give expression to every grade of
experience, from the lowest deep of despair to the
clearest height of full assurance. It is himself
speaking; but in his voice we hear the sobs and
cries, the joys and transports of a thousand hearts.
He gives us a view of his early struggles and
defeats: how seven times back and fore he broke
the commandments of God, and attempted to confirm
his deliverance with 'seven great vows': but
all in vain, until he saw from the depths the Face
that is 'altogether lovely,' and driven by a flame
of guilt he came to the pleasant hill of Zion: he
had found heaven on the brink of bell, in the
thunders of Sinai he had his first meeting with
God--hours never to be forgotten, the hours of his
marriage with heaven. But though the violence
of the early conflict is smoothed down, he has not
yet, come to the possession of perfect peace:
Once again my sigh of sorrow
Riseth to His gracious ears;
For His pity, for His presence,
Weeps my soul these flowing tears.
Who can tell but He who founded
Earth and heaven shall hear my cry,
And that all these mournful longings
God Himself shall satisfy!
Oh! to hear the silver trumpet
Now proclaim my full release,
That my heavy-laden spirit
May at last have joy and peace.
Oh! that now like mighty torrents
Strength descended from above!
Not the strongest of my passions
Could withstand His conquering love.