Hymn 196. The Presence of God the Life and Light of the Soul

My God, my hope, if thou art mine,

Why should my soul with sorrow pine?

On thee alone I cast my care;

O leave me not in dark despair.

Though every comfort should depart,

And life forsake this drooping heart;

One smile from thee, one blissful ray,

Can chase the shades of death away.

My God, my life, if thou appear,

Not death itself can make me fear;

Thy presence cheers the sable gloom,

And gilds the horrors of the tomb.

Not all its horrors can affright,

If thou appear, my God, my light;

Thy love shall all my fear controul,

And glory dawn around my soul.

Should all created blessing fade,

And mourning Nature, disarray’d,

Deplore her every charm withdrawn,

Light, hope and joy, for ever gone:

Though nought remain below the sky,

To please my taste, my ear, my eye,

Be thou my hope, my life, my light,

Amid the universal night.

My God, be thou for ever nigh;

Beneath the radiance of thine eye,

My hope, my joy, shall ever rise,

Nor terminate below the skies.

Collection of Hymns Adapted to Public Worship, no. 196; Poems, 1780, vol. 1, pp. 116-17; MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College, STE 3/1/1 no. 63; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 1, pp. 111-12.