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Chief of Sinners Though I Be
Chief of sinners though I be
Jesus shed his blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his, and he is mine.
Oh, the height of Jesus' love,
Higher than the heav'ns above,
Deeper than the depths of sea,
Lasting as eternity!
Love that found me--wondrous thought--
Found me when I sought him not.
Only Jesus can impart
Balm to heal the wounded heart,
Peace that flows from sin forgiv'n,
Joy that lifts the soul to heav'n,
Faith and hope to walk with God
In the way that Enoch trod.
Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me;
All my wants to him are known,
All my sorrows are his own.
He sustains the hidden life
Safe with him from earthly strife.
O my Savior, help afford
By your Spirit and your Word!
When my wayward heart would stray,
Keep me in the narrow way;
Grace in time of need supply
While I live and when I die.
We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God,
by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God,
whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins,
but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants:
and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit;
and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection,
that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment."
Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him;
not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God's sight;
but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
(The Westminster Confession of Faith, Of Good Works,Chapter XVI, v, vi.)
Truly God is good to Israel even to such as are of a clean heart.
But as for me, my feet were almost gone;
my steps had well-nigh slipped.
For I was envious at the foolish,
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no bands in their death:
but their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men;
neither are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain;
violence covereth them as a garment.
Their eyes stand out with fatness:
they have more than heart could wish.
They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression:
they speak loftily.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
and their tongue walketh through the earth.
Therefore his people return hither:
and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
And they say, How doth God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?
Behold, these are the ungodly,
who prosper in the world;
they increase in riches.
Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain,
and washed my hands in innocency.
For all the day long have I been plagued,
and chastened every morning.
If I say, I will speak thus;
behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
When I thought to know this,
it was too painful for me;
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then understood I their end.
Surely thou didst set them in slippery places:
thou castedst them down into destruction.
How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
As a dream when one awaketh;
so, O Lord, when thou awakest,
thou shalt despise their image.
Thus my heart was grieved,
and I was pricked in my reins.
So foolish was I, and ignorant:
I was as a beast before thee.
Nevertheless I am continually with thee:
thou hast holden me by my right hand.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel,
and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but thee?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth:
but God is the strength of my heart,
and my portion for ever.
For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish:
thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
But it is good for me to draw near to God:
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
that I may declare all thy works.
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