627

Just as I Am, Without One Plea

Full Text

1 Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidd'st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

2 Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

3 Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

4 Just as I am, thy love unknown
has broken every barrier down;
now to be thine, yea, thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The Agnus Dei is an ancient church text that developed from John the Baptist's salutation of Christ: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1 :29; Isa. 53:7; Rev. 5:6-14). By the late seventh century this Latin text was introduced into the Roman Catholic Mass at a point just prior to the reception of communion. In the tenth century the Agnus Dei's third clause was changed to its present wording, "dona nobis pacem" ("grant us peace").

 

Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

God’s children are not called to come before God’s throne with a list of accomplishments, or merits or goodness; they are called, says Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 26, to come with the humility that “…offers nothing but our need for mercy.” Such a cry for mercy comes from our “dying-away of the old self” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 88) which expresses that we are “genuinely sorry for our sin and more and more…hate and run away from it” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 89).

 
The gifts of renewal and pardon come only “through true faith” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 20) and are “gifts of sheer grace, granted solely by Christ’s merits” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7, Question and Answer 21). The very act of faith is to plead for his mercy.

627

Just as I Am, Without One Plea

Confession

Almighty God,
to you all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hid.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
[BCP, p 355],alt.,PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Optional prayer
Loving God, I come to you in the name of Jesus.
Sensing that you loved me before I could ever love you,
I come to you as a sinner who needs your forgiveness.
Trusting in your power,
I long to turn away from all that keeps me from you.
With your family in all times and places,
I believe that salvation—
for me, for others, for creation itself—
comes through Jesus Christ.
Thank you for this indescribable gift.
Amen.
— Lift Up Your Hearts (http://www.liftupyourheartshymnal.org)
627

Just as I Am, Without One Plea

Hymn Story/Background

Hymn writing provided a way for author, Charolotte Elliot to cope with her pain and depression—she wrote approximately 150 hymns, which were published in her Invalid's Hymn Book (several editions, 1834-1854), Hymns for a Week (1839), and Thoughts in Verse on Sacred Subjects (1869). Many of her hymns reflect her chronic pain and illness but also reveal that faith gave her perseverance and hope.
 
“Just as I Am" was first published in the 1836 edition of Invalid's Hymn Book with the subheading "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). She added a seventh stanza that same year, when the hymn was also published in her Hours of Sorrow Cheered and Comforted (1836). Lift Up Your Hearts prints the four most common stanzas. Widely translated, this hymn has brought consolation to millions.
 
William B. Bradbury originally composed WOODWORTH for Elizabeth Scott's text "The God of Love Will Sure Indulge," published in the Mendelssohn Collection (1849). Later Bradbury adapted Elliott's text (originally written as 88 86) by repeating the words "I come" in order to fit his long-meter tune; he published this adaptation in his Eclectic Tune Book (1860). The union of this text and tune became a standard in the hymnals used by Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey and achieved great popularity through use in Billy Graham Crusades as a hymn of invitation.
 
Charlotte Elliott’s text was the autobiographical memorial of her conversion to Christ. William B. Bradburry added an extra “I come” to the final phrase to fit this text to a new tune. The marriage of text and tune was cemented through frequent use in the Moody-Sanky crusades in the late nineteenth century, and more recently as a much-loved invitation hymn in Billy Graham crusades.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

At the age of 32, Charlotte Elliott (b. Clapham, London, England, 1789; d. Brighton, East Sussex, England, 1871) suffered a serious illness that left her a semi-invalid for the rest of her life. Within a year she went through a spiritual crisis and confessed to the Swiss evangelist Henri A. Cesar Malan that she did not know how to come to Christ. He answered, "Come to him just as you are." Thinking back on that experience twelve years later, in 1834, she wrote “Just as I Am" as a statement of her faith.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

William B. Bradbury (b. York, ME, 1816; d. Montclair, NJ, 1868) came from a musical family who encouraged him from an early age to learn to play various musical instruments. In 1830 his family moved to Boston. There he studied singing with Lowell Mason and sang in Mason's Bowdoin Street Church choir. In 1841 Bradbury moved to Brooklyn, New York, and became the organist at the Baptist Tabernacle in New York City. He organized children's singing classes, which developed into annual singing festivals and stimulated the teaching of music in the New York public schools. In 1854 William joined his brother Edward and a German piano maker to begin a piano firm, which became the Bradbury Piano Company. Bradbury wrote or edited sixty collections of popular music and edited and published numerous song books, including The Psalmodist (1844) and Golden Shower of Sunday School Melodies (1862). He is sometimes known as "the father of Sunday school hymnody."
— Bert Polman
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