Ah! whither should I go

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This is an hymn written by Charles Wesley, from Hymns on God's Everlasting Love, 1742, Hymn 16. Based on 1 Timothy 2:4, with meter 66. 86. D (S.M.D.). A common modern hymnal would have stanzas one, two, three, and twelve, of Wesley's original sixteen.

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Text and translations

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Charles Wesley, 1742

1. Ah! Whither should I go
Burdened, and sick, and faint?
To whom should I my trouble show,
Or pour out my complaint?
The Savior bids me come;
Ah! Why do I delay!
He calls the weary sinner home,
And yet from him I stay.

2. What is it keeps me back,
From which I cannot part,
Which will not let my Savior take
Possession of my heart?
Some cursed thing unknown
Must surely lurk within,
Some idol which I will not own,
Some secret bosom sin.

3. Jesus, the hindrance show,
Which I have feared to see,
Yet let me now consent to know
What keeps me out of thee.
Searcher of hearts, in mine
Thy trying power display,
Into its darkest corners shine,
And take the veil away.

4. I would not still deceive
My soul, and blind my sight,
I would not still thy Spirit grieve
By shutting out thy light.
Late in thy light I see,
And thank thee for the grace,
Thou wouldst have all men come to thee,
Savior of human race.


5. Not one of all that fell
But may thy favor find,
With thee the friend of sinners dwell,
The friend of human kind.
Thee every soul may see,
Thy saving grace may prove,
Confirm the merciful decree
Of universal love.

6. Thou oft hast called in vain,
Thou oft hast come unsought,
Would’st gather every soul of man,
But we, alas! Would not.
Thou offerest all to fill
For thy own mercy’s sake,
“Come, freely come, whoever will,
And living water take.”

7. Thou standest at the door,
And wilt not thence depart,
But entrance ever dost implore
Into the sinner’s heart.
Thy knock if any hear,
And open to his guest,
Thou enterest in that soul to cheer,
And art thyself its feast.

8. The vilest need not doubt,
Thy grace for all is free,
Thou wilt in no wise cast him out,
Who feebly comes to thee.
Thou dost of us complain,
“To me ye will not come,
That ye eternal life may gain,
And then be taken home.”


9. That all may turn and live,
Thou by thy life hast sworn,
“Why will ye die, when I would give
Pardon to all that turn.”
Lord, I believe at last
Thy promise and thy vow,
Thy word and solemn oath are past,
And thou wilt save me now.

10. At last I yield, I yield,
Renounce my faithless fear,
By all thy attributes compelled,
I give up my despair.
O! How have I belied
My God, and wildly raved?
Thou wilt not save I falsely cried,
When I would not be saved.

11. Thy goodness I accused,
(Pardon the blasphemy)
Of life thy proffer I refused,
And charged my death on thee.
How long have I, how long
Of God a devil made?
Forgive me, gracious Lord, the wrong;
I knew not what I said.

12. I now believe, in thee
Compassion reigns alone;
According to my faith to me
O let it, Lord, be done.
In me is all the bar
Which thou would’st fain remove;
Remove it, and I shall declare
That God is only love.


13. Thy mercy then takes place,
We find that love thou art,
When we no more resist thy grace,
And harden not our heart.
Answer, if this be true,
Thy counsel now fulfill,
On me for good some token show,
O! Work in me to will.

14. Lo! In thy hand I lay,
And wait thy will to prove:
My potter, stamp on me thy clay,
Thy only stamp of love.
Be this my whole desire,
(I know that it is thine:)
Then kindle in my soul a fire,
Which shall for ever shine.

15. Thy gracious readiness
To save mankind assert,
Thine image, love, thy name impress,
Thy nature on my heart.
Bowels of mercy, hear,
Into my soul come down,
Let it throughout my life appear
That I have Christ put on.

16. O! Plant in me thy mind,
O! Fix in me thy home,
So shall I cry to all mankind,
Come to the waters, come.
Jesus is full of grace,
To all, his bowels move!
Behold in me, ye fallen race,
That God is only love!

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