The Good That I Would I Do Not

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John Newton, 1779, from Olney Hymns, vol. 1, hymn 126

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 make it soft.

4. I would but cannot love,
Though wooed by love divine;
No arguments have pow'r 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 pow'r.

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.

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