A Hymn for Lent

O Lord, How Vile am I

-John Newton

O LORD, how vile am I,
Unholy, and unclean!
How can I dare to venture nigh
With such a load of sin?

Is this polluted heart
A dwelling fit for thee?
Swarming, alas! I in every part,
What evils do I see!

If I attempt to pray,
And lisp thy holy name;
My thoughts are hurried soon away,
I know not where I am.

If in thy word I look,
Such darkness fills my mind,
I only read a sealed book,
But no relief can find.

Thy gospel oft I hear,
But hear it still in vain;
Without desire, or love, or fear,
I like a stone remain.

Myself can hardly bear
This wretched heart of mine;
How hateful then must it appear
To those pure eyes of thine?

And must I then indeed
Sink in despair and die?
Fain would I hope that thou didst bleed
For such a wretch as I.

That blood which thou hast spilt;
That grace which is thine own;
Can cleanse the vilest sinner’s guilt,
And soften hearts of stone.

Low at thy feet I bow,
O pity and forgive;
Here will I lie and wait, till thou
Shalt bid me rise and live.

Olney Hymns
II. Seeking, Pleading, and Hoping.
hymn VII. Behold I am vile.

Text can be used with Red Mountain Music’s version of “Help My Unbelief“also by John Newton.

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