Please give today to support during one of only two fund drives we run each year. Each month, Hymnary serves more than 1 million users from around the globe, thanks to the generous support of people like you, and we are so grateful. 

Tax-deductible donations can be made securely online using this link.

Alternatively, you may write a check to CCEL and mail it to:
Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Make Me a Captive, Lord

Representative Text

1 Make me a captive, Lord,
And then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword
And I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life's alarms
When by myself I stand;
Imprison me within thine arms,
And strong shall be my hand.

2 My heart is weak and poor
Until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure,
It varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move
Till thou hast wrought its chain;
Enslave it with thy matchless love,
And deathless it shall reign.

3 My pow'r is faint and low
Till I have learned to serve;
It lacks the needed fire to glow,
It lacks the breeze to nerve.
It cannot drive the world
Until itself be driv'n;
Its flag can only be unfurled
When thou shalt breathe from heav'n.

4 My will is not my own
Till thou hast made it thine;
If it would reach a monarch's throne,
It must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent
Amid the clashing strife
When on thy bosom it has leant,
And found in thee its life.


1 Cautívame, Señor,
y libre en ti seré;
anhelo ser un vencedor,
rindiéndome a tus pies.
No puedo ya confiar
tan sólo en mi poder,
en ti yo quiero descansar
y fuerte habré de ser.

2 Mi débil corazón
vacila sin cesar,
y es como nave sin timón
en turbulento mar.
Concédele, Señor,
perfecta libertad;
envuélvele en tu santo amor
y libre así será.

3 Sin fuerzas para amar,
y así mejor vivir;
tú sólo puedes inspirar
el gozo de servir.
Quisiera desplegar
mis alas, oh Señor,
mas solo lo podré lograr
al soplo de tu amor.

4 Cautívame, Señor,
que en ti mi voluntad
tendrá un bautismo de vigor,
firmeza y santidad.
Podrá la tentación
mi vida sacudir;
no habrá más cierta protección
que la que encuentre en ti.

Source: Santo, Santo, Santo: cantos para el pueblo de Dios = Holy, Holy, Holy: songs for the people of God #639

Author: George Matheson

Matheson, George, D.D., was born at Glasgow, March 27, 1842, and although deprived of his eyesight in youth he passed a brilliant course at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated M.A. in 1862. In 1868 he became the parish minister at Innellan; and subsequently of St. Bernard's, Edinburgh. He was the Baird Lecturer in 1881, and St. Giles Lecturer in 1882. He has published several important prose works. His poetical pieces were collected and published in 1890 as Sacred Songs, Edinburgh: W. Blackwood. In addition to his hymn "O Love that wilt not let me go" (q. v.), four others from his Sacred Songs are in Dr. A. C. Murphey's Book of Common Song, Belfast, 1890. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Make me a captive, Lord
Title: Make Me a Captive, Lord
Author: George Matheson (1890)
Meter: D
Language: English
Notes: Spanish translation: See "Cautívame, Señor" by Federico J. Pagura
Copyright: Public Domain


Scripture References:
st. 1 = 2 Cor. 12:9-10, Rom. 6:18, 22
st. 2 = Phil. 4:13

This text is the finest example of sustained use of paradox in the Psalter Hymnal. It is built on a series of paradoxes that amplify the New Testament concept of freedom, which can be achieved only by being a servant, or prisoner, of Christ (see 2 Cor. 12:9-10). By their cumulative effect the contrasts between "captive" and "free"; "sink" and "stand"; "my own" and "thine"; "unbent" and "leaned" grip our imagination and powerfully affirm our servanthood to Christ.

George Matheson (b. Glasgow, Scotland, 1842; d. North Berwick, Scotland, 1906) wrote the text during his stay at Row, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, in 1890. It was pub¬lished that same year in his collection of poems and hymns, Sacred Songs, with the heading, "Christian freedom: Paul the prisoner of Jesus Christ (Eph. 3: 1)." The four short-meter stanzas are taken from the first and fourth stanzas of Matheson's original short-meter-double text.

A brilliant student of philosophy at the University of Glasgow and its divinity school, Matheson wrote several important theological and devotional works, including Aids to the Study of German Theology (1874). This achievement is especially noteworthy because of his failing eyesight during his teen years and virtual blindness by the age of eighteen. He had to rely on others, especially his sisters, for all his reading, research, and writing. Matheson was a very able preacher, serving Presbyterian churches in Glasgow; Clydeside Church in Innellan, Argyllshire (1868-1886); and finally St. Bernard's Church in Edinburgh (1886-1899).

Liturgical Use:
Many occasions of worship, especially after the sermon; adult baptism; profession of faith; ordination; times of testimony to the joy of being "captives" of Christ.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



George William Martin (b. London, England, 1825; d. London, 1881) composed LEOMINSTER, named for a town in the county of Hereford and Worcester (formerly Herefordshire), England. The tune was first published in The Journal of Part Music (vol. 2, 1862), in which it was titled THE PILGRIM'S SONG. Mart…

Go to tune page >



You have access to this FlexScore.
Are parts of this score outside of your desired range? Try transposing this FlexScore.
General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Contacting server...
Contacting server...
Questions? Check out the FAQ

A separate copy of this score must be purchased for each choir member. If this score will be projected or included in a bulletin, usage must be reported to a licensing agent (e.g. CCLI, OneLicense, etc).

This is a preview of your FlexScore.
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #278
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF)
The Cyber Hymnal #4144
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #546
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
The United Methodist Hymnal #421
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF)


Instances (1 - 27 of 27)

Ambassador Hymnal #470

TextAudioPage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #278

TextPage Scan

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #534

TextPage Scan

Common Praise #518

Page Scan

Complete Mission Praise #455

Great Songs of the Church (Revised) #617

Hymnal #539

Hymns and Psalms #714

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Faith #362

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #534

Hymns of the Christian Life #238

TextPage Scan

Moravian Book of Worship #604

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #546

TextPage Scan

Rejoice in the Lord #442

TextPage Scan

Santo, Santo, Santo #639

TextPage Scan

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #568

TextPage Scan

Sing Joyfully #409

The Christian Life Hymnal #488


The Cyber Hymnal #4144

TextPage Scan

The Irish Presbyterian Hymnbook #563


The Presbyterian Hymnal #378


The Song Book of the Salvation Army #508

TextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan

The United Methodist Hymnal #421

TextAudioPage Scan

The Worshiping Church #583


Together in Song #604

TextPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #687

生命聖詩 - Hymns of Life, 1986 #357

Include 90 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us