The leper. Mt 8:23
Oft as the leper's case I read,
My own described I feel;
Sin is a leprosy indeed,
Which none but CHRIST can heal.
Awhile I would have passed for well,
And strove my spots to hide;
Till it broke out incurable,
Too plain to be denied.
Then from the saints I sought to flee,
And dreaded to be seen;
I thought they all would point at me,
And cry, "Unclean, unclean!"
What anguish did my soul endure,
Till hope and patience ceased?
The more I strove myself to cure,
The more the plague increased.
While thus I lay distressed, I saw
The Savior passing by;
To him, though filled with shame and awe,
I raised my mournful cry.
LORD, thou canst heal me if thou wilt,
For thou canst all things do;
O cleanse my leprous soul from guilt,
My filthy heart renew!
He heard, and with a gracious look,
Pronounced the healing word;
"I will, be clean" -- and while he spoke
I felt my health restored.
Come lepers, seize the present hour,
The Savior's grace to prove;
He can relieve, for he is pow'r,
He will, for he is love.
John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779.
Copied from "Song to the Lamb" listserve 12 June 2007