I went shape-note singing for the second time in a week today. Last Monday I went to the public sing hosted by Norumbega Harmony in Newton, and this afternoon I went to the monthly sing at St. John’s Church in Charlestown. This hymn cut right to the heart of my condition.
Mercer’s Cluster, 1823/Columbian Harmony, 1829
Oh, once I had a glor’ous view
Of my redeeming Lord,
He said, "I’ll be a God to you,"
And I believed his word.
But now I have a deeper stroke
Than all my groanings are;
My God has be of late forsook;
He’s gone, I know not where.
Oh, what immortal joys I felt
On that celestial day,
When my hard heart began to melt,
By love dissolved away!
But my complaint is bitter now,
For all my joys are gone;
I’ve strayed! I’m left! I know not how;
The light’s from me withdrawn.
Once I could joy the saints to meet,
To me they were most dear;
I then could stoop to wash their feet,
And shed a joyful tear;
But now I meet them as the rest,
And with them joyless stay;
My conversation’s spiritless,
Or else I’ve naught to say.
I once could mourn o’er dying men,
And longed their souls to win;
I travailed for their poor children,
And warned them of their sin;
But now my heart’s so careless grown,
Although they’re drowned in vice,
My bowels o’er them cease to yearn–
My tears have left mine eyes.
I forward go in duty’s way,
But can’t perceive Him there;
Then backward on the road I stray,
But cannot find Him there;
On the left hand, where He doth work,
Among the wicked crew,
And on the right I find Him not
Among the favored few.
What shall I do? Shall I lie down
And sink in deep despair?
Will He forever wear a frown,
Nor hear my feeble prayer?
No; He will put His strength in me,
He knows the way I’ve strolled,
And shen I’m tried sufficiently
I shall come forth as gold.