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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About Reid Ferguson

Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.