#315 O For A Closer Walk
Words by William Cowper, 1769 (1731-1800)
Music by Henry W. Greatorex's Collection, Boston, 1851
O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.
What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.
William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”), whose father was chaplain to King George II, went through the motions of becoming an attorney, but never practiced law. He lived near Olney, Buckinghamshire, the namesake town of the Olney Hymns, which he cowrote with John Newton, author of Amazing Grace. Cowper also wrote poetry, including “The Negro’s Complaint,” an anti-slavery work, and the 5,000-line “The Task.”