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I Cannot Give It Up

I cannot give it up, the little world I know!
The innocent delights of youth, the things I cherish so!
It’s true, I love my Lord, and want to do His will,
But may I not enjoy the world, and be a Christian still?

I love the hour of prayer, I love the hymns of praise,
I love the blessed Word that tells of God’s redeeming grace.
But I am human still, and while I dwell on earth
God surely will not grudge the hours I spend in harmless mirth!

These things belong to youth, and are its natural right,
My dress, my music, and my friends, the merry and the bright,
My Father’s heart is kind! He will not count it ill
That my small corner of the world, should please and hold me, still!

And yet ‘outside the camp’, ’twas there my Saviour died!
It was the world that cast Him forth, and saw Him crucified.
Can I take part with those who nailed Him to the tree?
And where His name is never praised, is that the place for me?

Nay, world!  I turn away, though thou seem fair and good;
That friendly outstretched hand of thine is stained with Jesus’ blood.
If in your least device I stoop to take a part,
All unaware, your influence steals God’s presence from my heart.

I miss my Saviour’s smile, whene’er I walk your ways;
Your laughter drowns the Spirit’s voice and chokes the springs of praise.
If e’er I turn aside to join you for an hour,
The face of Christ grows blurred and dim and prayer has lost its power!

Farewell, henceforth my place is with the Lamb who died,
My Sovereign! While I have Thy love, what can I want beside?
Thyself, dear Lord, art now my free and loving choice,
‘In whom, though now I see Thee not, believing, I rejoice!’

Shame on me that I sought another joy than this,
Or dreamt a heart at rest with Thee could crave for earthly bliss!
These vain and worthless things, I put them all aside;
His goodness fills my longing soul, and I am satisfied.

Lord Jesus! Let me dwell ‘outside the camp’ with Thee!
Since Thou art there, then there alone is peace and home for me.
Thy dear reproach to bear I’ll count my highest gain,
Till Thou return, my banished King to take Thy power, and reign!

Margaret Mauro