1. How happy, how joyful, how loving I feel,
I want to feel more love, yea, more love and zeal,
I want my love perfect, I want my love pure,
That all things with patience I may well endure.
2. I want to be little, more simple, more mild,
More like my blest Master, and more like a child;
More watchful, more pray’rful, more lowly in mind,
More thankful, more gentle, more loving and kind.
3. I want to have wisdom that comes from above,
I want my heart fill’d with the purest of love;
I want my faith stronger, my anchor hope sure,
And like a good soldier, all hardness endure.
4. I want to have freedom from false human pride,
All malice and anger, I would lay aside;
From sin and from bondage I want to be free,
And live, my dear Saviour, live only to Thee.
5. While suff’ring, enduring, in duty believe,
Forgiving, if any my spirit should grieve;
Rememb’ring at all times what Jesus did say,
And set out anew, and begin every day.
6. My treasure in heaven I want to lay up,
Where nothing will enter, to rust or corrupt;
Where no thief or robber, will venture or dare,
My heart and my treasure, I want should be there.
7. The faith of my Jesus, His love and His zeal,
I want them deep rooted, and inwardly feel;
I want my light clear, that beholders may see,
How faith and good works in sweet union agree.
8. My union I want with the Father and Son,
I want that perfected which grace has begun;
With love and sweet union, that sooths every care,
And with my dear brethren all burdens to bear.
9. Come love and sweet union, to thee I do call,
I want to feel more love, yea, more love to all;
O come, my Beloved, come, hasten to me,
And fill up my vessel, as full as can be.
10. Come brethren and sisters, both aged and youth,
And all who are willing to walk in the truth;
Come fill up your vessels, with union and love,
And on our blest journey we’ll joyfully move.
11. When time is no longer, from earth we’ll remove,
To dwell in the regions of pure light and love;
With Jesus our Saviour, and all holy men,
We’ll sing hallelujah forever, Amen.
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This beautiful holiness text came from a rare hymnal called Christian Songster (1858). I’ve tried to compose a tune that would be suitable with the simple, direct faith of those pioneers in the early American days.
In our times, there is a kind of religious pride in confessing one’s self to be a sinner (saved by grace, but a sinner still), and caricaturing holiness as “the heresy of perfectionism”. But sin is an antagonistic power to the power of Christ. They are in opposition. If Christ accommodated sin by His gospel, then His kingdom would be divided against itself and would fall.
Jesus spoke the parable of the Pharisee and Publican to show what is the difference between real righteousness and the imitation kind:
9 And he spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.
The Publican felt that sin was a fatal disease, and he cried out to be free from it. He fought against his condition and could not endure to remain in it. So he found justification before God, which is not only a declaration of righteousness, but is actually a condition of being innocent before the judgment seat of the Most High. Only the cleansing power of Christ can accomplish such a miraculous change.
The Pharisee, on the other hand, saw no need to cry out. He did not feel his danger, and did not strive to be free from his wretched condition. In our day, this is often the case with those who declare themselves to be sinners “saved by grace”. They accept their condition as the best that can be expected, and are content to remain so. Their church friends and ministers also assure them that they are doing well, that they should not worry since Jesus died for them, and therefore there is no danger. These circumstances only increase their confidence and put them into a more fatal sleep.
This hymn shows what is the real ground of holiness: an ever greater longing for more and more of the Saviour; it is the “hunger and thirst for righteousness” that Jesus mentioned in His first Beatitude. Those who hunger and thirst will be filled. Those who are content to remain sinners, will be sent away empty.