Love constraining to obedience.
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 pow'r 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 enquiry now.
To see the Law by CHRIST fulfilled,
And hear his pard'ning voice;
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.
William Cowper (1731-1800)
Olney Hymns, 1779.