Before Elisha’s gate
The Syrian leper stood;

2 Ki 5:14

      Before Elisha’s gate
      The Syrian leper stood;
      But could not brook to wait,
      He deemed himself too good:
He thought the prophet would attend,
And not to him a message send.

      Have I this journey come,
      And will he not be seen?
      I were as well at home,
      Would washing make me clean:
Why must I wash in Jordan’s flood?
Damascus’ rivers are as good.

      Thus by his foolish pride
      He almost missed a cure;
      Howe’er at length he tried,
      And found the method sure:
Soon as his pride was brought to yield,
The leprosy was quickly healed.

      Leprous and proud as he,
      To Jesus thus I came,
      From sin to set me free,
      When first I heard his fame:
Surely, thought I, my pompous train
Of vows and tears will notice gain.

      My heart devised the way
      Which I supposed he’d take;
      And when I found delay,
      Was ready to go back:
Had he some painful task enjoined,
I to performance seemed inclined.

      When by his word he spake,
      That fountain opened see;
      ’Twas opened for thy sake,
      Go wash, and thou art free:”
O! how did my proud heart gainsay,
I feared to trust this simple way.

      At length I trial made,
      When I had much endured;
      The message I obeyed,
      I washed, and I was cured:
Sinners this healing fountain try,
Which cleansed a wretch so vile as I.

~ John Newton

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