“Lovest Thou Me,” Olney Hymns (1779)
John xxi. 16
Hark, my soul! it is the Lord;
’Tis Thy Saviour, hear His word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
“Say, poor sinner, lov’st thou me?
I deliver’d thee when bound,
And, when wounded, heal’d thy wound;
Sought thee wand’ring, set thee right,
Turn’d thy darkness into light.
Can a woman’s tender care
Cease, towards the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be,
Yet will I remember thee.
Mine is an unchanging love,
Higher than the heights above;
Deeper than the depths beneath,
Free and faithful, strong as death.
Thou shalt see my glory soon,
When the work of grace is done;
Partner of my throne shalt be,
Say, poor sinner, lov’st thou me?”
Lord, it is my chief complaint,
That my love is weak and faint;
Yet I love thee and adore,
Oh for grace to love thee more!
William Cowper (1731-1800) was an English Anglican poet and hymnwriter. He experienced a dramatic evangelical conversion as a young man and collaborated with John Newton in writing Olney Hymns, a collection that deeply shaped evangelical worship across the English-speaking world. He was also a dedicated abolitionist, and wrote several influential antislavery poems.