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Pleading His Gracious Name

Representative Text

1 Approach, my soul, the mercy seat
where Jesus answers prayer;
there humbly fall before his feet,
for none can perish there.

2 Thy promise is my only plea;
with this I venture nigh:
thou callest burdened souls to thee,
and such, O Lord, am I.

3 Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
by Satan sorely pressed,
by war without and fears within,
I come to thee for rest.

4 Be thou my shield and hiding place,
that, sheltered near thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
and tell him thou hast died.

5 O wondrous love! to bleed and die,
to bear the cross and shame,
that guilty sinners, such as I,
might plead thy gracious name!

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #451

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 tumul­tuous 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 à 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: Approach, my soul, the mercy seat
Title: Pleading His Gracious Name
Author: John Newton (1779)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Approach, my soul, the mercy seat. J. Newton. [Lent.] First published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. iii., No. 12, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and again in all later editions of the same work. It came into early use in the hymnals and has attained to a foremost position as one of the most popular of Newton's productions. In the Olney Hymns it is the second of two hymns headed, "The Effort." The first hymn by Newton on this same subject begins:— "Cheer up, my soul, there is a mercy seat." No. 11, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines as above. Its similarity to "Approach, my soul," has led some to suppose it to have been re-written by an unknown compiler. In the American College Hymnal, N. Y. 1876, stanzas ii., iii. and iv. are given as No. 280, "Lord, I am come, Thy promise is my plea." The use of this hymn in any form is very limited.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Instances (1 - 16 of 16)
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African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #324

Ambassador Hymnal #421

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #547

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #553


Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #548


Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #548

Hymns of the Christian Life #206

TextPage Scan

Hymns to the Living God #277

The Baptist Hymnal #290

The Book of Praise #364


The Cyber Hymnal #211


The Cyber Hymnal #3726

The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #61


The Song Book of the Salvation Army #284


Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #507

TextPage Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #451

Include 576 pre-1979 instances
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