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Love Constrained to Obedience

A couple of days ago I stumbled across this old hymn (or poem–you pick) by William Cowper. What a great poem it is. I thought I’d share it with you in case you’ve never read it or, as in my case, have read it in the past but have forgotten all about it. It is called “Love Constrained 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 toll’d the precept to obey,
But toil’d 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.

Incidentally, does anyone know whether you would rightly pronounce “Cowper” as “COW-per” or as “COO-per?” I’ve heard both.


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