Scripture Verse

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said…Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad. 1 Kings 3:5–9

Introduction

portrait
John Newton
1725–1807

Words: John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 1, num­ber 32. Some hym­nals omit the op­en­ing stan­zas, and start with the verse that be­gins And dost Thou say…

Music: Hes­per­us Hen­ry Bak­er, 1854. First pub­lished in A Hym­nal for Use in the Eng­lish Church, by John Grey, 1866 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Bak­er (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Lyrics

If Solomon for wis­dom prayed,
The Lord be­fore had made him wise;
Else he an­oth­er choice had made,
And asked for what the world­lings prize.

Thus He in­vites his people still,
He first in­structs them how to choose;
Then bids them ask what­e’er they will,
Assured that He will not re­fuse.

Our wishes would our ru­in prove,
Could we our wretch­ed choice ob­tain;
Before we feel the Sav­ior’s love,
Kindle our love to Him again.

But when our hearts per­ceive His worth,
Desires, till then un­known, take place;
Our spi­rits cleave no more to earth,
But pant for ho­li­ness and grace.

And dost Thou say, Ask what Thou wilt?
Lord, I would seize the gold­en hour;
I pray to be re­leased from guilt,
And freed from sin and Sa­tan’s pow­er.

More of Thy pre­sence, Lord, im­part,
More of Thine im­age let me bear;
Erect thy throne with­in my heart,
And reign with­out a ri­val there.

Give me to read my par­don sealed,
And from Thy joy to draw my strength;
To have Thy bound­less love re­vealed
In all its height, and breadth, and length.

Grant these re­quests, I ask no more
But to Thy care the rest re­sign;
Sick or in health, or rich or poor,
All shall be well if Thou art mine.