The Good That I Would I Do Not

Full Text

1 I would, but cannot sing,
Guilt has untuned my voice,
The Serpent sin's envenomed sting
Has poisoned all my joys.

2 I know the Lord is nigh,
And would, but cannot pray;
For Satan meets me when I try,
And frights my soul away.

3 I would, but can't repent,
Though I endeavor oft;
This stony heart can ne'er relent
'Till Jesus makes it soft.

4 I would, but cannot love,
Though wooed by Love Divine;
No arguments have power to move
A soul so base as mine.

5 I would, but cannot rest
In God's most holy will;
I know what he appoints is best,
Yet murmur at it still.

6 Oh could I but believe!
Then all would easy be;
I would, but cannot; Lord relieve;
My help must come from thee!

7 But if indeed I would,
Though I can nothing do;
Yet the desire is something good,
For which my praise is due.

8 By nature prone to ill,
Till thine appointed hour,
I was as destitute of will,
As now I am of power.

9 Wilt thou not crown, at length,
The work thou hast begun?
And with a will afford me strength,
In all thy ways to run.

The Christian's duty, exhibited in a series of hymns, 1791

Author: John Newton

Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years' schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: I would, but cannot sing
Title: The Good That I Would I Do Not
Author: John Newton
Language: English



ST. THOMAS (Williams)

ST. THOMAS is actually lines 5 through 8 of the sixteen-line tune HOLBORN, composed by Aaron Williams (b. London, England, 1731; d. London, 1776) and published in his Collection (1763, 1765) as a setting for Charles Wesley's text "Soldiers of Christ, Arise" (570). The harmonization is by Lowell Maso…

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«based on a tune given in The Sound of the Dove, p. 142 "as sung by Elder Eddie Lyle, 24 July 1982, West Jefferson, North Carolina"»

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The Cyber Hymnal #3155
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Include 60 pre-1979 instances