I found this hymn in a book on English poetry. I plan on sharing it tonight at the campus church. It provides a great illustration of someone who is struggling with the concept of grace and acceptance before God. The poem is written by the English poet and preacher John Donne (1572 -1631). The famous line “Ask not for whom the bell tolls” comes from one of his poems.

A Hymn to God the Father

(By John Donne)

I

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which is my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still: though still I do deplore?
When thou has done, thou has not done,
For I have more.

II

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin? and, made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year, or two, but wallowed in a score?
When thou has done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

III

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done,
I fear no more.