This is the full, original text from an 1852 edition of Fr. Faber’s hymnal Jesus and Mary. It is listed under the title “Conversion.” in that hymnal:
O Faith! thou workest miracles
Upon the hearts of men,
Choosing thy home in those same hearts
We know not how or when.
To one thy grave unearthly truths
A heavenly vision seem;
While to another’s eye they are
A superstitious dream.
To one the deepest doctrines look
So naturally true,
That when he learns the lesson first
He hardly thinks it new.
To other hearts the selfsame truths
No light or heat can bring;
They are but puzzling phrases strung
Like beads upon a string.
O Gift of Gifts! O Grace of Faith!
My God! how can it be
That Thou, who hast discerning love,
Shouldst give that gift to me?
There was a place, there was a time,
Whether by night or day,
Thy Spirit came and left that gift,
And went upon His way.
How many hearts Thou mightst have had
More innocent than mine!
How many souls more worthy far
Of that sweet touch of Thine!
Ah Grace! into unlikeliest hearts
It is thy boast to come,
The glory of thy light to find
In darkest spots a home.
How will they die, how will they die,
How bear the cross of grief,
Who have not got the light of faith,
The courage of belief?
The crowd of cares, the weightiest cross
Seem trifies less than light;
Earth looks so little and so low,
When faith shines full and bright.
O happy, happy that I am!
If thou canst be, O Faith!
The treasure that thou art in life,
What wilt thou be in death?
Thy choice, O God of Goodness! then
I lovingly adore;
O give me grace to keep Thy grace,
And grace to merit more!
Words: Fr. Frederick William Faber, C.O., 1849.
Tune: “Byzantium” T. Jackson, 1715-1781.