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Alas! by nature how depraved

Alas! by nature how depraved

Author: John Newton
Tune: BANGOR (Tansur)
Published in 18 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Alas! by nature how depraved,
How prone to every ill!
Our lives to Satan how enslaved,
How obstinate our will!

2 And can such sinners be restored,
Such rebels reconciled!
Can grace sufficient means afford
To make the foe a child!

3 Yes, grace has sound the wondrous means
Which shall effectual prove;
To cleanse us from our countless sins,
And teach our hearts to love.

4 Jesus for us a ransom paid,
And died that we might live;
His blood a full atonement made,
And cried aloud, Forgive.

5 Yet one thing more mus grace provide,
To bring us home to God;
Or we shall slight the Lord, who died,
And trample on his blood.

6 The holy Spirit must reveal
The Savior's work and worth:
Then the hard heart begins to feel
A new and heavenly birth.

The Hartford Selection of Hymns from the most approved authors, 1799

7 Thus bought with blood, and born again,
Redeem'd and sav'd by grace;
Rebels in God's own house obtain
A son's and daughters place.

Author: John Newton

John Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. His licentious and tumul¬≠tuous sailing life included a flogging for attempted desertion from the Royal Navy and captivity by a slave trader in West Africa. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. Several factors contributed to Newton's conversion: a near-drowning in 1748, the piety of his friend Mary Catlett, (whom he married in 1750), and his reading of Thomas √† Kempis' Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. After becoming a tide… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Alas! by nature how depraved
Author: John Newton
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Alas! by nature how depraved. J. Newton. [Lent.] Appeared in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. ii., No. 29, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, and based on the words, "How shall I put thee among the children?" Jer. iii. 19. As given in Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory, 1872, No. 450, and elsewhere, it is composed of st. i.-iv. of the original.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


BANGOR (Tansur)

Traditionally used for Montgomery's text and for Peter Abelard's "Alone Thou Goest Forth, O Lord," BANGOR comes from William Tans'ur's A Compleat Melody: or the Harmony of Syon (the preface of which is dated 1734). In that collection the tune was a three-part setting for Psalm 12 (and for Psalm 11 i…

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The Cyber Hymnal #14
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The Cyber Hymnal #14

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