1 Oft have I sat in secret sighs,
To feel my flesh decay,
Then groaned aloud with frighted eyes,
To view the tottering clay.
2 But I forbid my sorrows now,
Nor dares the flesh complain;
Diseases bring their profit too;
The joy o'ercomes the pain.
3 My cheerful soul now all the day
Sits waiting here and sings;
Looks through the ruins of her clay,
And practices her wings.
4 Faith almost changes into sight,
While from afar she spies,
Her fair inheritance, in light
Above created skies.
5 Had but the prison walls been strong,
And firm without a flaw,
In darkness she had dwelt too long,
And less of glory saw:
6 But now the everlasting hills
Through every chink appear,
And something of the joy she feels
While she's a prisoner here:
7 The shines of heaven rush sweetly in
At all the gaping flaws:
Visions of endless bliss are seen
And native air the draws.
8 O may these walls stand tottering still,
The breaches never close!
If I must here in darkness dwell,
And all this glory lose!
9 Or rather let this flesh decay,
The ruins wider grow,
Till glad to see the enlarged way,
I stretch my pinions through.
The Christian's duty, exhibited in a series of hymns, 1791