A Sick Soul
Physician of my sin-sick soul,
To thee I bring my case;
My raging malady control,
And heal me by thy grace.
Pity the anguish I endure,
See how I mourn and pine;
For never can I hope a cure
From any hand but thine.
I would disclose my whole complaint,
But where shall I begin?
No words of mine can fully paint
That worst distemper, sin.
It lies not in a single part,
But through my frame is spread;
A burning fever in my heart,
A palsy in my head.
It makes me deaf, and dumb, and blind,
And impotent and lame;
And overclouds, and fills my mind
With folly, fear, and shame.
A thousand evil thoughts intrude
Tumultuous in my breast;
Which indispose me for my food,
And rob me of my rest.
Lord, I am sick, regard my cry,
And set my spirit free:
Say, canst thou let a sinner die,
Who longs to live to thee?
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Tuesday 11 July1775
A pretty full meeting in the morning. Variously employed. In the evening spoke from 1 Samuel 4:13 [And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.]
Wednesday 12 July 1775
Rode to Bedford – spent the day agreeably at Mr Barham’s and returned safe in the evening, and not much fatigued. Mr Bryer [or Brire] went away this morning, seemed much pleased with his visit.
Thursday 13 July 1775
Met the children. Their number much increased since Mr Teedon came – I suppose had more than 70 today. A visit from Mr Grundy, a young man of Mr Scot’s academy, and a Mr Coles of Lutterworth. Preached in the evening. Galatians 4:7 [Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.]
Saturday 15 July 1775
Closed the week in peace, though not without much cause of shame and humiliation.
Sunday 1775 16 July 1775
Wholly unprovided beforehand, but helped in service. Within – cold, wandering, distempered. Possessed with evil thoughts at the most solemn seasons, and seemingly pleased with them, though I dare not mention them to any creature. Ah this vile heart! The Evening Hymn No. 212 led me to speak of it, and I had liberty.
Hymn No. 212
[On this date Newton preached from the above texts at his church, St Peter & St Paul, Olney, during the morning and afternoon services, and from this hymn at the informal evening service]