Lord, when we search the human heart

Lord, when we search the human heart

Author: James Montgomery
Published in 1 hymnal

Representative Text

Lord, when we search the human heart,
We find a fallen world within;
There is no health in any part,
Sin reigns throughout, and death by sin.

Large provinces are pagan still,
Where other lords dominion share;
Idols of mind, affection, will,
The Power of darkness triumphs there.

Here, the false prophet's wild domains,
Where Lust, and Cruelty, and Hate,
With baleful passions fire the veins,
And seal the conscience up in fate.

'Midst all, the stubborn, stiff-necked Jew,
Blind, like his kindred, prone to roam,
Denies the Saviour whom he slew,
Mammon his God, and earth his home.

The smallest portion of the whole
Some beams of heavenly truth pervade;
Slowly the day-spring o'er the soul
Breaks through the fogs of nature's shade.

I know a bosom, which within
Contains the world's sad counterpart;
'Tis here,--the reign of death and sin;
O God! evangelize my heart!

Then will I strive through earth's whole round,
Thy name, Thy knowledge to diffuse;
And send the Gospel's joyful sound
To Pagans, Infidels, and Jews.

From Christian hearts divinely changed,
Were the world's likeness thus to part,
That world, from God no more estranged,
Would soon be like the Christian's heart.

Sacred Poems and Hymns

Author: James Montgomery

James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Lord, when we search the human heart
Author: James Montgomery
Language: English


Lord, when we search the human heart. J. Montgomery. [The World in the Heart.] This hymn was written on the blank page of a juvenile missionary address prepared by Mr. George Cookman, of Hull. Montgomery mentions his having written it in a letter to Mr. Cookman's father, dated "Sheffield, June 24, 1819" (Montgomery's Memoirs, iii. p. 169). The hymn was included in Cotterill's Selection, 8th ed., 1819, No. 338, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. In Montgomery's Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 549, it was repeated with slight variations, and the addition of a new stanza (viii.). This text with stanza vii. 1. 2, "Thy name and knowledge," changed to "Thy name, Thy knowledge," is in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 170.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


Instances (1 - 1 of 1)

Sacred Poems and Hymns #170

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