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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 powers;

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 every vain pretense

Built on human excellence;

Perish every thing in man

But the grace that never can.


(Source: Olney Hymns, William Cowper, from Cowper’s Poems, Sheldon & Company, New York)

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