SATB, a cappella | Shaw Music ∙ $2.00
Text by William Cowper, 1799
This contemplative anthem, on a text by Olney Hymns contributor William Cowper, moves through a deep, personal reflection on the nature of grace and repentance. Originally, Cowper inscribed the text with Isaiah 57:15, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite’.”
The Lord will happiness divine
On contrite hearts bestow;
Then tell me, gracious God, is mine
A contrite heart or no?
I hear, but seem to hear in vain,
Insensible as steel;
If aught is felt, ’tis only pain
To find I cannot feel.
I sometimes think myself inclined
To love thee, if I could;
But often feel another mind,
Averse to all that’s good.
My best desires are faint and few,
I fain would strive for more;
But when I cry, “My strength renew!”
Seem weaker than before.
Thy saints are comforted, I know,
And love thy house of prayer;
I therefore go where others go,
But find no comfort there.
O make this heart rejoice or ache;
Decide this doubt for me;
And if it be not broken, break—
And heal it, if it be.