Lord, when we search the human heart

Lord, when we search the human heart

Author: James Montgomery
Published in 1 hymnal

Full Text

Lord, when we search the human heart,
We find a fallen world within;
There is no health in any part,
Sin reigns throughout, and death by sin.

Large provinces are pagan still,
Where other lords dominion share;
Idols of mind, affection, will,
The Power of darkness triumphs there.

Here, the false prophet's wild domains,
Where Lust, and Cruelty, and Hate,
With baleful passions fire the veins,
And seal the conscience up in fate.

'Midst all, the stubborn, stiff-necked Jew,
Blind, like his kindred, prone to roam,
Denies the Saviour whom he slew,
Mammon his God, and earth his home.

The smallest portion of the whole
Some beams of heavenly truth pervade;
Slowly the day-spring o'er the soul
Breaks through the fogs of nature's shade.

I know a bosom, which within
Contains the world's sad counterpart;
'Tis here,--the reign of death and sin;
O God! evangelize my heart!

Then will I strive through earth's whole round,
Thy name, Thy knowledge to diffuse;
And send the Gospel's joyful sound
To Pagans, Infidels, and Jews.

From Christian hearts divinely changed,
Were the world's likeness thus to part,
That world, from God no more estranged,
Would soon be like the Christian's heart.

Sacred Poems and Hymns

Author: James Montgomery

Montgomery, James, son of John Montgomery, a Moravian minister, was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Nov. 4, 1771. In 1776 he removed with his parents to the Moravian Settlement at Gracehill, near Ballymena, county of Antrim. Two years after he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary, Yorkshire. He left Fulneck in 1787, and entered a retail shop at Mirfield, near Wakefield. Soon tiring of that he entered upon a similar situation at Wath, near Rotherham, only to find it quite as unsuitable to his taste as the former. A journey to London, with the hope of finding a publisher for his youthful poems ended in failure; and in 1792 he was glad to leave Wath for Shefield to join Mr. Gales, an auctioneer, bookseller, and printer of the Sheffield Register newspap… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Lord, when we search the human heart
Author: James Montgomery
Language: English


Lord, when we search the human heart. J. Montgomery. [The World in the Heart.] This hymn was written on the blank page of a juvenile missionary address prepared by Mr. George Cookman, of Hull. Montgomery mentions his having written it in a letter to Mr. Cookman's father, dated "Sheffield, June 24, 1819" (Montgomery's Memoirs, iii. p. 169). The hymn was included in Cotterill's Selection, 8th ed., 1819, No. 338, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. In Montgomery's Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 549, it was repeated with slight variations, and the addition of a new stanza (viii.). This text with stanza vii. 1. 2, "Thy name and knowledge," changed to "Thy name, Thy knowledge," is in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 170.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)