John Newton, “A Prayer for Humility”

My Father, and my God,
Look upon Thy helpless child!
Thou hast laid aside Thy rod,
Thou in Christ art reconcil’d.
Hear me then, my Father, hear,
Good, and gracious, as Thou art,
Fill me with a holy fear,
Give me, Lord, a humble heart.

O! ‘Tis all I want below,
Jesus, and myself to feel,
Only sin, and grace to know,
All the good and all the ill.
Show me, Father, what I am,
Show me what in Christ Thou art,
All my glory, all my shame;
Give me, Lord, a humble heart.

Listen to my ceaseless cries,
Mean and little may I be,
Base, and vile in my own eyes,
Griev’d at my own misery.
Show, and then my sickness cure;
Make me know as I am known,
Wound my spirit, make me poor,
Break, O break this heart of stone.

Dust and ashes is my name,
Sinful dust and ashes I.
Back return from whence I came,
Earth to earth I sink, and die.
Abject I, yet haughty too,
Nothing of my own possess,
Nothing of myself can do,
Proud of sin, and proud of grace.

O, the curse, the plague I feel
By the demon Pride pursu’d!
Proud to see I merit hell,
Proud I am that God is good.
Proud that Thou my works hast wrought,
Proud that I was justified,
Proud in every Word and Thought:
All my fallen soul is pride.

My own glory still I seek,
Still I covet human praise,
Still in all I do, or speak,
Thee I wrong, and rob Thy grace:
Nature will usurp a share,
Fondly of Thy graces boast,
Needlessly Thy gifts declare,
Needlessly declar’d and lost.

And must that which is so good
Evil prove to helpless me?
Poison shall I draw from food,
Sin from grace, and pride from Thee?
O forbid it Humble Love!
Hide me, O my Father, hide,
Far away this snare remove,
Save me from the demon Pride.

Wean my soul, and keep it low,
Do not with Thy gifts destroy,
Lowliness of heart bestow,
Give me this, or take my joy:
If with me Thou wilt not stay,
Let my comfort all depart,
Take my joy, and peace away,
Leave me but a humble heart.

Father hear, to Thee I cry,
Thee in Jesus’ name conjure,
With my own request comply,
Make me humble, make me poor;
This of all Thy gifts impart;
When I am of this possessed,
When Thou giv’st a humble heart,
If Thou canst, withhold the rest.

John Newton, “A Prayer for Humility,” in Hymns and Sacred Poems (Bristol, 1742), 148-50. I have slightly adjusted archaic spelling in a few places, and brought capitalization more in line with current practice.

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