No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright;
And what she has, she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.
How long beneath the Law I lay
In bondage and distress!
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.
Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do;
Now, if I feel its power within,
I feel I hate it too.
Then all my servile works were done
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose His ways.
What shall I do was then the word,
That I may worthier grow?
What shall I render to the Lord?
Is my inquiry now.
To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,
And hear His pardoning voice;
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.
-William Cowper, Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779).