Scripture Verse

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7


John Newton

Words: John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 1, num­ber 81. The beg­gar.

Music: Via Pa­cis Jo­seph Barn­by, 1889 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Joseph Barnby
National Portrait Gallery



Encouraged by Thy word
Of promise to the poor;
Behold, a beggar, Lord,
Waits at Thy mercy’s door!
No hand, no heart, O Lord, but Thine,
Can help or pity wants like mine.

The beggar’s usual plea
Relief from men to gain,
If offered unto Thee,
I know Thou would’st disdain:
And pleas which move Thy gracious ear,
Are such as men would scorn to hear.

I have no right to say
That though I now am poor,
Yet once there was a day
When I possessèd more:
Thou know’st that from my very birth,
I’ve been the poorest wretch on earth.

Nor can I dare profess,
As beggars often do,
Though great is my distress,
My wants have been but few:
If Thou shouldst leave my soul to starve,
It would be what I well deserve.

’Twere folly to pretend
I ne­ver begged before;
Or if Thou now befriend,
I’ll trouble Thee no more:
Thou often hast relieved my pain,
And often I must come again.

Though crumbs are much too good
For such a dog as I;
No less than children’s food
My soul can satisfy:
O do not frown and bid me go,
I must have all Thou canst bestow.

Nor can I willing be
Thy bounty to conceal
From others, who like me,
Their wants and hunger feel:
I’ll tell them of Thy mercy’s store,
And try to send a thousand more.

Thy thoughts, Thou only wise!
Our thoughts and ways transcend,
Far as the archèd skies
Above the earth extend:
Such pleas as mine men would not bear,
But God receives a beggar’s prayer.