O Thou, the contrite sinners' friend

O Thou, the contrite sinners' Friend

Author: Charlotte Elliott
Published in 104 hymnals

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1 O Thou, the contrite sinners' friend,
Who, loving, lov'st them to the end;
On this alone my hopes depend,
That Thou wilt plead for me.

2 When, weary in the Christian race,
Far off appears my resting place,
And, fainting, I mistrust Thy grace,
Then, Saviour, plead for me.

3 When I have erred and gone astray
Afar from Thine and wisdom's way,
And see no glimmering, guiding way,
Still, Saviour, plead for me.

4 When Satan, by my sins made bold,
Strives from Thy cross to loose my hold,
Then with Thy pitying arms enfold,
And plead, oh, plead for me!

5 And when my dying hour draws near,
Darkened with sorrow, pain, and fear,
Then to my fainting sight appear,
Pleading in heaven for me.


The Hymnal: revised and enlarged as adopted by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the year of our Lord 1892

Author: Charlotte Elliott

Elliott, Charlotte, daughter of Charles Elliott, of Clapham and Brighton, and granddaughter of the Rev. H. Venn, of Huddersfield, was born March 18, 1789. The first 32 years of her life were spent mostly at Clapham. In 1823 she removed to Brighton, and died there Sept. 22, 1871. To her acquaintance with Dr. C. Malan, of Geneva, is attributed much of the deep spiritual-mindedness which is so prominent in her hymns. Though weak and feeble in body, she possessed a strong imagination, and a well-cultured and intellectual mind. Her love of poetry and music was great, and is reflected in her verse. Her hymns number about 150, a large percentage of which are in common use. The finest and most widely known of these are, "Just as I am” and "My God… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O Thou, the contrite sinners' Friend
Title: O Thou, the contrite sinners' friend
Author: Charlotte Elliott
Language: English


O Thou, the contrite sinner's Friend. Charlotte Elliott. [Jesus, the Advocate.] Appeared in her brother's Psalms & Hymns, 1st edition, 1835, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed with the text, "We have an Advocate with the Father." In the Index it was given as by "Wesley" in error, and this ascription was continued therein for a considerable length of time. Lord Selborne cleared up the matter in a note to the hymn in his Book of Praise, 1862;—

"Miss Eiliott's name is now (through the kindness of her brother, the Rev. H. V. Elliott, in obtaining for me her permission) first made public as the authoress of this hymn. Through some accidental error it is ascribed in the Rev. H. V. Elliott's collection to Wesley; and the same mistake has been transferred to Kyle's Spiritual Songs, Bourchier's Solace in Sickness and Sorrow, and probably other works."

The use of this hymn has extended to all English-speaking countries. Usually the original text is given as in the Hymnal Companion, No. 139. In Thring's Collection, 1882, there is a change in stanza v. 1. 2 (suggested by H. H. Pierson, the musician) from "Darken'd with anguish, guilt, and fear," to "O'ercast with sorrow, pain, and fear," which was submitted to Miss Elliott and received her approval.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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