One glance of thine, eternal Lord,
Pierces all nature through;
Nor heaven, nor earth, nor hell, afford
A shelter from thy view!
The mighty whole, each smaller part,
At once before Thee lies;
And every thought of every heart
Is open to thine eyes.
Though greatly from myself conceal'd,
Thou seest my inward frame;
To Thee I always stand reveal'd
Exactly as I am.
Since, therefore, I can hardly bear
What in myself I see,
How vile and black must I appear,
Most holy God, to Thee!
But since my Saviour stands between,
In garments dyed in blood,
'Tis He, instead of me, is seen,
When I approach to God.
Thus, though a sinner, I am safe;
He pleads before the throne
His life and death in my behalf,
And calls my sins his own.
What wondrous love, what mysteries,
In this appointment shine!
My breaches of the law are his,
And his obedience mine.
.....There is a petition which I have heard in public prayers,—Lord, show us the evil of our hearts. To this petition I cannot venture to set my Amen, at least not without a qualification. Show me enough of thyself to balance the view, and then show me what thou pleasest. I think I have a very clear and strong conviction in my judgment, that I am vile and worthless, that my heart is full of evil, only evil, and that continually. I know something of it too experimentally; and, therefore, judging of the whole by the sample, though I am not suitably affected with what I do see, I tremble at the thought of seeing more.....A man may look with some pleasure upon the sea in a storm, provided he stand safe upon the land himself; but to be upon the sea in a storm, is quite another thing. And yet surely the coldness, worldliness, pride, and twenty other evils under which I groan, owe much of their strength to the want of that feeling sense of my own abominations....I often seem to know what the Scripture teaches both of sin and grace, as if I knew them not; so faint and languid are my perceptions. I often seem to think and talk of sin without any sorrow, and of grace without any joy.
.....Whatever means, instruments, or occasions he is pleased to employ, the work is all his own; and I trust you and I are made willing to give him all the glory, and to sink into the dust at the thought that he should ever permit us to take his holy name upon our polluted lips.
from a letter dated August 14, 1770