Words: , A Col­lect­ion of Psalms and Hymns, 1741.

Music: Na­o­mi, ; ar­ranged by , 1836. Al­ter­nate tunes:

  • Morn­ing Song, mel­o­dy from The Ken­tucky Har­mo­ny, by , 1816, at­trib­ut­ed by some to (1782-1826); har­mo­nized by (1867-1944)
  • St. Ol­ives, from A Com­pil­a­tion of Gen­u­ine Church Mu­sic, by (Win­ches­ter, Vir­gin­ia: J. W. Holl­is, 1832)

This was the hymn John Downes gave out on Fri­day, No­vem­ber 4, 1774, when death seized him in West Street Cha­pel, Lon­don. Wesley took great pride in this preach­er’s me­chan­i­cal gen­i­us, and in the por­trait which Downes made of him. In the af­ter­noon be­fore his ap­point­ment, Downes said, ‘I feel such a love to the people of West Street, that I would be con­tent to die with them. I do not find my­self ve­ry well; but I must be with them this ev­en­ing.’ His text was ‘Come un­to Me, all ye that la­bour and are hea­vy la­den,’ and great pow­er at­tend­ed the mess­age; but when he had spok­en for ten min­utes his strength was gone, and he gave out the lines—

Father, I stretch my hands to Thee,
No other help I know.

His voice failed. He fell on his knees, as if he in­tend­ed to pray, ‘but he could not be heard.’ The Preach­ers who were pre­sent raised him up and bore him to bed, where he soon breathed his last breath. He was on­ly fi­fty-two.

Father, I stretch my hands to Thee,
No other help I know;
If Thou withdraw Thyself from me,
Ah! whither shall I go?

What did Thine only Son endure,
Before I drew my breath!
What pain, what labor, to secure
My soul from endless death!

O Jesus, could I this believe,
I now should feel Thy power;
Now my poor soul Thou wouldst retrieve,
Nor let me wait one hour.

Surely Thou canst not let me die;
O speak, and I shall live;
And here I will unwearied lie,
Till Thou Thy Spirit give.

Author of faith! to Thee I lift
My weary, longing eyes:
O let me now receive that gift!
My soul without it dies.

The worst of sinners would rejoice,
Could they but see Thy face:
O, let me hear Thy quickening voice,
And taste Thy pardoning grace.