Not What My Hands Have Done

This is an experiment. I have posted video’s of others but very rarely (I think one) of myself. Maybe this will be a flop. But if it is, at least for those who see this, the exposure they gain from the words of this 160 year old hymn will still be an encouragement to appreciate Christ with a deeper fervor and an abounding love.

Horatius Bonar /həˈrʃəs ˈbɒnˌɑːr, ˈbɒnər/ (19 December 1808 – 31 July 1889), a contemporary and acquaintance of Robert Murray M’cheyne was a Scottish churchman and poet. He is principally remembered as a prodigious hymnodist. Friends knew him as Horace Bonar. (Wikipedia)

The Wikipedia article mentions 140 hymns for which he was “famous” but this one is not included. Perhaps the music for it was not as good as his poetry and theology. That’s a pity because such words, such theology deserve a prominent place in our hearts. The lyrics follow below.

Not What My Hands Have Done 

Verse 1 
Not what my hands have done 
Can save my guilty soul 
Not what my toiling flesh has done 
Can make my spirit whole 
Not what I feel or do 
Can give me peace with God 
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears 
Can bear my awful load

Verse 2 
Thy work alone, O Christ 
Can ease this weight of sin 
Thy blood alone O Lamb of God 
Can give me peace within 
Thy love to me, O God 
Not mine, O Lord, to thee 
Can rid me of this dark unrest 
And set my spirit free

Verse 3 
Thy grace alone, O God
To me can pardon speak
Thy pow’r alone, O son of God,
Can this sore bondage break,
No other work, save thine
No other blood will do;
No strength, save that which is divine
Can bear me safely through.

Verse 4
I bless the Christ of God,
I rest on love divine;
And with unfalt’ring lip and heart,
I call this Savior mine.
This cross dispels each doubt;
I bury in his tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear,
Each ling’ring shade of gloom.

Verse 5
I praise the God of grace I trust 
His truth and might He calls me His, 
I call Him mine 
My God, my Joy, my Light 
‘Tis he who saveth me 
And freely pardon gives 
I love because He loveth me 
I live because He lives
                                              Text by Horatius Bonar, 1861



Updated now with a recording from the congregation of Captial Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC.


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