Joseph Hart – A Dialogue between a Believer and his Soul (a Poem & biography)

via Banner of Truth Trust UK
Joseph Hart (1712 – May 24, 1768) was an 18th-century minister in London. His works include „Hart’s Hymns”, a much-loved hymn book amongst evangelical Christians throughout its lifetime of over 200 years, which includes the well-known hymn, „Come ye sinners, poor and needy”.

One of Joseph Hart’s early publications was a tract denouncing Christianity (prior to his conversion) called The Unreasonableness of Religion, Being Remarks and Animadversions on the Rev. John Wesley’s Sermon on Romans 8:32. His other works include a short autobiography and a few poetical translations of ancient classics.

Joseph Hart preached at Jewin Street chapel in London, a building with multiple galleries, to a congregation of significant size.

Only one of Hart’s sermons remains discovered to us: that of Christmas 1767. Several of his hymns appear in the Sacred Harp.
Hart’s Conversion-
Hart later considered that there was a need both to do good works and to believe in God. But then came the uncertainty: Was he really and truly saved? He had no indication from God, no elaborate vision, telling him that he had been saved. This was a great worry to Joseph Hart. He began to pray to God that there would be some revelation granted him, or perhaps just a little sign. This tormented Hart for more than a year.

Then, the week before Easter of the year 1757 Hart „had such an amazing view of the agony of Christ in the garden [of gethsemane]” [2] showing to Hart that all Christ’s sufferings were for him (along with the rest of the church).

But soon after this, Hart again began to be afraid of the life to come- eternity, and feared exceedingly when reading about the condemned in passages in the Bible.

But It was on Whitsunday that Hart’s true conversion came. Hart was converted under the ministry of George Whitefield, and felt blessed in his soul.

After these times Hart still had sufferings and uncertainties as to his conversion, but he could always look back to his conversion, and believe that God saved his soul.

Hart’s motto after this time was: „Pharasaic zeel and Antinomian security are the two engines of Satan, with which he grinds the church in all ages, as betwixt [between] the upper and the nether [lower] millstone. The space between them is much narrower and harder to find than most men imagine. It is a path which the vulture’s eye hath not seen; and none can show it us but the Holy Ghost.”

Hart died on May 24, 1768, with a congregation estimated at tens of thousands around his graveside at Bunhill Fields. (via) Wikipedia

Believer:
Come, my soul, and let us try,
For a little season,
Every burden to lay by;
Come, and let us reason.
What is this that casts thee down?
Who are those that grieve thee?
Speak, and let the worst be known;
Speaking may relieve thee.

Soul:
O, I sink beneath the load
Of my nature’s evil!
Full of enmity to God;
Captived by the devil;
Restless as the troubled seas;
Feeble, faint, and fearful;
Plagued with every sore disease;
How can I be cheerful?

Believer:
Think on what thy Saviour bore
In the gloomy garden.
Sweating blood at every pore,
To procure thy pardon!
See him stretched upon the wood,
Bleeding, grieving, crying,
Suffering all the wrath of God,
Groaning, gasping, dying!

Soul:
This by faith I sometimes view,
And those views relieve me;
But my sins return anew;
These are they that grieve me.
O, I’m leprous, stinking, foul,
Quite throughout infected;
Have not I, if any soul,
Cause to be dejected?

Believer:
Think how loud thy dying Lord
Cried out, ‘It is finished!’
Treasure up that sacred word,
Whole and undiminished;
Doubt not he will carry on,
To its full perfection,
That good work he has begun;
Why, then, this dejection?

Soul:
Faith when void of works is dead;
This the Scriptures witness;
And what works have I to plead,
Who am all unfitness?
All my powers are depraved,
Blind, perverse, and filthy;
If from death I’m fully saved,
Why am I not healthy?

Believer:
Pore not on thyself too long,
Lest it sink thee lower;
Look to Jesus, kind as strong
Mercy joined with power;
Every work that thou must do,
Will thy gracious Saviour
For thee work, and in thee too,
Of his special favour.

Soul:
Jesus’ precious blood, once spilt,
I depend on solely,
To release and clear my guilt;
But I would be holy.

Believer:
He that bought thee on the cross
Can control thy nature,
Fully purge away thy dross;
Make thee a new creature.

Soul:
That he can I nothing doubt,
Be it but his pleasure.

Believer:
Though it be not done throughout,
May it not in measure?

Soul:
When that measure, far from great,
Still shall seem decreasing?

Believer:
Faint not then, but pray and wait,
Never, never ceasing.

Soul:
What when prayer meets no regard?

Believer:
Still repeat it often.

Soul:
But I feel myself so hard.

Believer:
Jesus will thee soften.

Soul:
But my enemies make head.

Believer:
Let them closer drive thee.

Soul:
But I’m cold, I’m dark, I’m dead.

Believer:
Jesus will revive thee.

2 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. Annie
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 03:14:32

    Thanks so much for posting this!

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