I Want a Principle Within

I love the old hymns. Maybe that’s because I am a septuagenarian, but I like to think it is because hymns have so much more to offer than the typical fare we hear on Sunday morning. But that’s fodder for another blog post. I collect hymn books. Some years ago I was going through my copy of the United Methodist Hymnal and came across this hymn by Charles Wesley. I had never heard this song sung in any church services and was immediately struck by it. It has the same tune as “Faith is the Victory,” minus the refrain.

I want a principle within
of watchful, godly fear,
a sensibility of sin,
a pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel
of pride or wrong desire,
to catch the wandering of my will,
and quench the kindling fire.

From thee that I no more may stray,
no more thy goodness grieve,
grant me the filial awe, I pray
the tender conscience give.
Quick as the apple of an eye,
O God, my conscience make;
awake my soul when sin is nigh,
and keep it still awake.

Almighty God of truth and love,
to me thy power impart;
the mountain from my soul remove,
the hardness from my heart.
O may the least omission pain
my reawakened soul,
and drive me to that blood again,
which makes the wounded whole.

I’ve included a YouTube video of an instrumental rendition for your enjoyment. If your musically talented as I am (not), you’ll find the music helps make it easier to sing. I hope you’ll find the words of this hymn worth making your prayer, as I have. I keep a copy of it taped inside the front cover of my Bible for ready reference.

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