1 How sad our state by nature is,
our sin, how deep it stains;
and Satan binds our captive minds
fast in his slavish chains.
But there's a voice of sov'reign grace
sounds from the sacred Word,
"Ho, ye despairing sinners, come,
and trust upon the Lord."
2 My soul obeys th'almighty call,
and runs to this relief;
I would believe Thy promise, Lord,
O help my unbelief.
Unto the fountain of Thy blood,
Incarnate God, I fly;
here let me wash my spotted soul,
from Crimes of deepest dye.
3 Stretch out Thine arm, victorious King,
my reigning sins subdue;
and drive the dragon from his seat,
with all his hellish crew.
A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
on Thy kind arms I fall;
be thou my strength and righteousness,
my Jesus and my all.
Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >
How sad our state by nature i. J. Watts. [Salvation through Christ.] First published in his Hymns & Sacred Songs, 1707 (edition 1709, Book ii., No. 90), in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed "Faith in Christ for Pardon and Sanctification." In 1736-7 it was included by J. Wesley in his Charlestown Psalms &Hymns, p. 52, with the change of stanza v., line 4, "With all his hellish crew,” to "With his infernal crew." Wesley's alteration was repeated by G. Whitefield in his Collection, 1753; by M. Madan, in his Psalms & Hymns 1760, and others. In Conyers's Collection, edition 1774, the line reads, “And form our souls anew.” In modern hymn-books the difficulty is over-come by the omission of the stanza. Several interesting "Associations " in connection with this hymn are given in G. J. Stevenson's Methodist Hymn Book Notes, 1883.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Display Title: How Sad Our State by Nature Is!First Line: How sad our state by nature isTune Title: SOUTHWELL (Irons)Author: Isaac WattsMeter: CMSource: Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707-9, Book II number 90