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In Desertion or Temptation

Ah! my dear Lord, whose changeless love

To me, nor earth nor hell can part;

When shall my feet forget to rove?

Ah, what shall fix this faithless heart!

Why do these cares my soul divide,

If Thou indeed hast set me free?

Why am I thus, if God hath died;

If God hath died to purchase me?

Around me clouds of darkness roll,

In deepest night I still walk on;

Heavily moves my fainting soul,

My comfort and my God are gone.

Cheerless and all forlorn I droop;

In vain I lift my weary eye;

No gleam of light, no ray of hope

Appears throughout the darken’d sky.

My feeble knees I bend again,

My drooping hands again I rear:

Vain is the task, the effort vain,

My heart abhors the irksome prayer.

Oft with Thy saints my voice I raise,

And seem to join the tasteless song:

Faintly ascends the imperfect praise,

Or dies upon my thoughtless tongue.

Cold, weary, languid, heartless, dead,

To Thy dread courts I oft repair;

By conscience dragg’d, or custom led,

I come; nor know that God is there!

Nigh with my lips to Thee I draw,

Unconscious at Thy altar found;

Far off my heart nor touch’d with awe,

Nor moved—though angels tremble round.

In all I do, myself I feel,

And groan beneath the wonted load,

Still unrenew’d, and carnal still,

Naked of Christ, and void of God.

Nor yet the earthly Adam dies,

But lives, and moves, and fights again,

Still the fierce gusts of passion rise,

And rebel Nature strives to reign.

Fondly my foolish heart essays

To augment the source of perfect bliss,

Love’s all-sufficient sea to raise

With drops of creature-happiness.

O Love! Thy sovereign aid impart,

And guard the gifts Thyself hast given:

My portion Thou, my treasure art,

And life, and happiness, and heaven.

Would aught with Thee my wishes share,

Though dear as life the idol be,

The idol from my breast I’ll tear,

Resolved to seek my all from Thee.

Whate’er I fondly counted mine,

To Thee, my Lord, I here restore:

Gladly I all for Thee resign

Give me Thyself, I ask no more!


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