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William Williams

Williams possessed to a considerable extent the 42 Shakspearean faculty of seeing many aspects of human nature, especially on its religious side. His hymns give expression to every grade of experience, from the lowest deep of despair to the clearest height of full assurance. It is himself speaking; but in his voice we hear the sobs and cries, the joys and transports of a thousand hearts. He gives us a view of his early struggles and defeats: how seven times back and fore he broke the commandments of God, and attempted to confirm his deliverance with 'seven great vows': but all in vain, until he saw from the depths the Face that is 'altogether lovely,' and driven by a flame of guilt he came to the pleasant hill of Zion: he had found heaven on the brink of bell, in the thunders of Sinai he had his first meeting with God--hours never to be forgotten, the hours of his marriage with heaven. But though the violence of the early conflict is smoothed down, he has not yet, come to the possession of perfect peace:

Once again my sigh of sorrow

Riseth to His gracious ears;

For His pity, for His presence,

Weeps my soul these flowing tears.

Who can tell but He who founded

Earth and heaven shall hear my cry,

And that all these mournful longings

God Himself shall satisfy!


Oh! to hear the silver trumpet

Now proclaim my full release,

That my heavy-laden spirit

May at last have joy and peace.

Oh! that now like mighty torrents

Strength descended from above!

Not the strongest of my passions

Could withstand His conquering love.

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