Why do we plead for the retention—yea, more, the prizing—of the hymnal heritage of the past? Why simply because some of these old hymns say things so powerfully that their disappearance from ecclesial memory would be such a great loss. In this light, consider this hymn from the pen of Anne Steele (1717-1778). It has her characteristic “watermark”—Christian profundity yoked to introspection and hesitancy—and a powerful conclusion that moves the modern heart as deeply as any subjectivity of the eighteenth century.
Dear Lord, what heavenly wonders dwell In thy atoning blood! By this are sinners snatch’d from hell, And rebels brought to God.
Jesus, my soul, adoring bends To love so full, so free; And may I hope that love extends Its sacred power to me?
What glad return can I impart, For favours so divine? O take my all, this worthless heart, And make it only thine.