This hymn by Joseph Hart is one of the favourites in our church. It emphasises that we come to Jesus in belief and repentance, trusting that He is enough, that we do not have to be worthy, for He is worthy.
Not every hymnbook includes our fourth verse (and the YouTube recording below lacks it), but I consider that very unfortunate, for the fourth verse is the heart of the message of the hymn. The price that was paid for our sins was enough, for that price was our Maker, laying down His life.
It is because the price was sufficient that we do not think of our own fitness for salvation, that we do not tarry until we are better, that we still come even though poor and needy, in a desperate spiritual condition. Joseph Hart had tried self-improvement with mixed success for many years, but two years before writing this hymn, he gave up on being fit for the Saviour and trusted the Saviour to fit him for the Kingdom. This hymn, then, was his personal testimony.
Lord willing, we’ll be singing this hymn this coming Sunday.
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Saviour,
O there are ten thousand charms.
Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.
View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?
Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to know your need of Him.
Joseph Hart, 1712-1768
Music: William Walker, 1809-1875