John Newton on Romans 7:19

Romans 7:19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

1 I would, but cannot sing,

Guilt has untun’d my voice:

The serpent sin’s envenom’d sting

Has poison’d 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 endeavour oft;

This stony heart can ne’er relent

Till Jesus make it soft.

4 I would, but cannot love,

Though woo’d 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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