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William Williams

No one can read the Welsh hymns of the last century without noting how every sentiment turns lovingly to the cross. The cross absorbs the themes of sermon and song; for it was the sun and shield of the National Revival. There is scarcely a hymn of Williams' in which it does not stand forth clear and towering. The passion of these verses is not of earth:

50

Who'll give me balm of Gilead--

Forgiveness, with its peace?

Then fear of death would vanish,

My soul would be at ease:

And who can soothe the anguish

Of guilt and evil will?

I know of none but Jesus,

Once nailed upon the hill.

Hard were the nails and cruel,

To pierce that form of grace;

But now they hold the compass

Of heaven in its place:

The hope of Adam's children

Flows from that awful hour,

When earth beheld its Maker

Abused by human power.

If ever the authority

Of Calvary should fail,

No hope, nor any comfort,

Would then for me avail:

Most wretched, oh! most wretched

Would I of all men be:

The dreadful grave would swallow

My soul, full surely.

Oh! vast, and ever vaster,

The mercy He made known:

Behold, the wide creation

Doth last in Him alone:

The moan of that dark mountain--

Lama sabachthani!

Is now the pearl most precious

Of any land or sea.

51

Unbearable the burden

To man--yea, to the best;

And on my God's own shoulder

It terribly did rest:

Justice was there demanding

The price to be made good;

And sin's eternal ransom

Was paid in sweat and blood.

The vast unmeasured mountain

Upon Himself He took,

From off the feeble shoulders

Of guilty man forsook:

When Nature saw the burden

Of infinite disgrace,

The very earth was shaken,

And heaven hid its face.

If thousand worlds were ransomed

By that one sacrifice,

Too dear would they be counted,

Redeemed at such a price:

No angel can, or seraph,

Tell e'en a thousandth part

Of that great price of ransom--

The blood of God's own heart.

A fire in thousand bosoms

Through heaven ravisheth--

A new white flame of wonder,

Remembering His death:

It silences their music

With ever new surprise:

They look on God Incarnate,

And say--'Behold! He dies!'

52

To Thee, my God, my Saviour,

Praise be for ever new;

Let people come to praise Thee

In numbers like the dew;

Oh! that in every meadow

The grass were harps of gold,

To sing to Him for coming

To ransom hosts untold!

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