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The Dark Guest



Bend my hands and cut them off,
      for I have often struck thee with
  a wayward will,
  when these fingers should embrace thee by faith.
I am not yet weaned from all created glory,
  honour, wisdom, and esteem of others,
  for I have a secret motive to eye my name
    in all I do.
Let me not only speak the word sin, but see
    the thing itself.
Give me to view a discovered sinfulness,
  to know that though my sins are crucified
    they are never wholly mortified.
Hatred, malice, ill-will,
  vain-glory that hungers for and hunts after
  man’s approval and applause,
  all are crucified, forgiven,
  but they rise again in my sinful heart.
O my crucified but never wholly mortified
O my life-long damage and daily shame!
O my indwelling and besetting sins!
O the tormenting slavery of a sinful heart!
Destroy, O God, the dark guest within
  whose hidden presence makes my life a hell.
Yet thou hast not left me here without grace;
The cross still stands and meets my needs
  in the deepest straits of the soul.
I thank thee that my remembrance of it
  is like David’s sight of Goliath’s sword
    which preached forth thy deliverance.
The memory of my great sins, my many
  temptations, my falls,
  bring afresh into my mind the remembrance
    of thy great help, of thy support from heaven,
    of the great grace that saved such a wretch
      as I am.
There is no treasure so wonderful
  as that continuous experience of thy grace
    toward me which alone can subdue
      the risings of sin within:
Give me more of it.

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