Poetic Greats – William Cowper

on

Not of Works

Grace, triumphant in the throne,

Scorns a rival, reigns alone;

Come and bow beneath her sway,

Cast your idol works away:

Works of man, when made his plea,

Never shall accepted be;

Fruits of pride (vain-glorious worm)

Are the best he can perform.

Self, the god his soul adores,

Influences all his pow’rs;

JESUS is a slighted name,

Self-advancement all his aim:

But when GOD the Judge shall come,

To pronounce the final doom,

Then for rocks and hills to hide

All his works and all his pride!

Still the boasting heart replies,

What! the worthy and the wise,

Friends to temperance and peace,

Have not these a righteousness?

Banish ev’ry vain pretence,

Built on human excellence;

Perish ev’ry thing in man,

But the grace that never can.

[1772]

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