I was reading through some hymn texts today, and I came across this beautiful hymn from William Cowper - "Jehovah Our Righteousness." It is in the popular hymn meter of 8,6,8,6 (like Amazing Grace):
My God! how perfect are thy ways!
But mine polluted are;
Sin twines itself about my praise,
And slides into my prayer.
When I would speak what thou hast done
To save me from my sin;
I cannot make thy mercies known
But self–applause creeps in.
Divine desire, that holy flame
Thy grace creates in me;
Alas! impatience is its name,
When it returns to thee.
This heart, a fountain of vile thoughts,
How does it overflow?
While self upon the surface floats
Still bubbling from below.
Let others in the gaudy dress
Of fancied merit shine;
The LORD shall be my righteousness
The LORD for ever mine.
I love Cowper's honesty regarding our praise. It is often tainted with pride and sin, yet it is accepted because of the perfect work of Christ for us. Jesus alone is our righteousness.