By Whom Was David Taught

By whom was David taught
To aim the deadly blow,
When he Goliath fought,
And laid the Gittite low?
Nor sword nor spear the stripling took,
But chose a pebble from the brook.

’Twas Israel’s God and King
Who sent him to the fight;
Who gave him strength to fling,
And skill to aim aright.
Ye feeble saints, your strength endures,
Because young David’s God is yours.

Who ordered Gideon forth,
To storm th’invaders’ camp
With arms of little worth,
A pitcher and a lamp?
The trumpets made His coming known
And all the host was overthrown.

Oh! I have seen the day,
When with a single word,
God helping me to say,
“My trust is in the Lord,”
My soul hath quelled a thousand foes
Fearless of all that could oppose.

But unbelief, self will,
Self righteousness, and pride,
How often do they steal
My weapon from my side!
Yet David’s Lord, and Gideon’s Friend,
Will help His servant to the end.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns, (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

When Hagar Found the Bottle Spent

When Hagar found the bottle spent,
And wept o’er Ishmael,
A message from the Lord was sent
To guide her to a well.

Should not Elijah’s cake and cruse
Convince us at this day,
A gracious God will not refuse
Provisions by the way?

His saints and servants shall be fed,
The promise is secure;
“Bread shall be given them,” He has said,
“Their water shall be sure.”

Repasts far richer they shall prove
Than all earth’s dainties are;
’Tis sweet to taste a Savior’s love,
Though in the meanest fare.

To Jesus then your trouble bring,
Nor murmur at your lot;
While you art poor, and He is King,
You shall not be forgot.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779), num­ber 57.

A Glory Gilds the Sacred Page

A glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic like the sun;
It gives a light to every age;
It gives, but borrows none.

The Spirit breathes upon the Word
And brings the truth to sight;
Precepts and promises afford
A sanctifying light.

The hand that gave it still supplies
The gracious light and heat;
His truths upon the nations rise;
They rise, but never set.

Let everlasting thanks be Thine
For such a bright display.
As makes a world of darkness shine
With beams of heavenly day.

My soul rejoices to pursue
The steps of Him I love,
Till glory breaks upon my view
In brighter worlds above.

-William Cowper, cir­ca 1770.

Jesus, Whose Blood So Freely Streamed

Jesus, whose blood so freely streamed
To satisfy the law’s demand;
By Thee from guilt and wrath redeemed,
Before the Father’s face I stand.

To reconcile offending man,
Make Justice drop her angry rod;
What creature could have formed the plan,
Or who fulfill it but a God?

No drop remains of all the curse,
For wretches who deserved the whole;
No arrows dipped in wrath to pierce
The guilty, but returning soul.

Peace by such means so dearly bought,
What rebel could have hoped to see?
Peace by his injured Sovereign wrought,
His Sovereign fastened to a tree.

Now, Lord, Thy feeble worm prepare!
For strife with earth and hell begins;
Conform and gird me for the war;
They hate the soul that hates his sins.

Let them in horrid league agree!
They may assault, they may distress;
But cannot quench Thy love to me,
Nor rob me of the Lord my Peace.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

The Lord Proclaims His Grace Abroad

The Lord proclaims His grace abroad!
“Behold, I change your hearts of stone;
Each shall renounce his idol god,
And serve, henceforth, the Lord alone.

“My grace, a flowing stream, proceeds
To wash your filthiness away;
Ye shall abhor your former deeds,
And learn My statutes to obey.

“My truth the great design ensures,
I give Myself away to you;
You shall be Mine, I will be yours,
Your God unalterably true.

“Yet not unsought or unimplored,
The plenteous grace I shall confer;
No—your whole hearts shall seek the Lord,
I’ll put a praying spirit there.

“From the first breath of life divine
Down to the last expiring hour,
The gracious work shall all be Mine,
Begun and ended in My pow’r.”

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

Jesus, Where’er Thy People Meet

Jesus, where’er Thy people meet,
There they behold Thy mercy seat;
Where’er they seek Thee Thou art found,
And every place is hallowed ground.

For Thou, within no walls confined,
Inhabitest the humble mind;
Such ever bring Thee, where they come,
And, going, take Thee to their home.

Dear Shepherd of Thy chosen few,
Thy former mercies here renew;
Here, to our waiting hearts, proclaim
The sweetness of Thy saving Name.

Here may we prove the power of prayer
To strengthen faith and sweeten care;
To teach our faint desires to rise,
And bring all Heav’n before our eyes.

Behold at Thy commanding word,
We stretch the curtain and the cord;
Come Thou, and fill this wider space,
And bless us with a large increase.

Lord, we are few, but Thou art near;
Nor short Thine arm, nor deaf Thine ear;
O rend the heavens, come quickly down,
And make a thousand hearts Thine own!

-William Cowper, 1769.

O for a Closer Walk with God

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

-William Cowper, in Con­yer’s Col­lect­ion of Psalms and Hymns, 1772.

My God! How Perfect Are Thy Ways!

My God! how perfect are Thy ways!
But mine polluted are;
Sin twines itself about my praise,
And slides into my prayer.

When I would speak what Thou hast done
To save me from my sin;
I cannot make Thy mercies known
But self-applause creeps in.

Divine desire, that holy flame
Thy grace creates in me;
Alas! impatience is its name,
When it returns to Thee.

This heart, a fountain of vile thoughts,
How does it overflow?
While self upon the surface floats
Still bubbling from below.

Let others in the gaudy dress
Of fancied merit shine;
The Lord shall be my righteousness
The Lord for ever mine.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), num­ber 67.

There Is A Fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

-William Cowper, in Con­yer’s Col­lect­ion of Psalms and Hymns, 1772.

Too Many, Lord, Abuse Thy Grace,

Too many, Lord, abuse Thy grace,
In this licentious day;
And while they boast they see Thy face,
They turn their own away.

Thy Book displays a gracious light
That can the blind restore;
But these are dazzled by the sight,
And blinded still the more.

The pardon, such presume upon,
They do not beg, but steal;
And when they plead it at Thy throne,
Oh! where’s the Spirit’s seal?

Was it for this, ye lawless tribe,
The dear Redeemer bled?
Is this the grace the saints imbibe
From Christ the living Head?

Ah, Lord, we know Thy chosen few
Are fed with heavenly fare;
But these, the wretched husks they chew
Proclaim them what they are.

The liberty our hearts implore
Is not to live in sin;
But still to wait at wisdom’s door,
Till mercy calls us in.

-William Cowper, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).