Himself He could not save

Himself He could not save,
  He on the cross must die,
Or mercy could not come
  To ruined sinners nigh;
Yes, Christ, the Son of God, must bleed,
That sinners might from sin be freed.
Himself He could not save,
  For justice must be done;
Our sins’ full weight must fall
  Upon the sinless One;
For nothing less can God accept
In payment of that fearful debt.
Himself He could not save,
  For He the Surety stood
For all who now rely
  Upon His precious blood;
He bore the penalty of guilt
When on the cross His blood was spilt.
Himself He could not save,
  What wondrous love is this!
In love Himself He gave,
  There ne’er was love like His!
Such love should melt a heart of stone,
Till praise flows forth to Him alone!

Temple City, Caloforna, United States

This song is true Amen!

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

Midlane was born at Newport, Isle of Wight and was engaged in business in that town for many years. To his Sunday school teacher he ascribes the honor of prompting him to poetic efforts: and the same teacher did much to shape his early life. His first printed hymn, "Hark! in the presence of our God," was written in September, 1842, at Carisbrooke Castle, and printed in the Youth’s Magazine in November of the same year. Since then he has written over 300, many of them for children. He was with the Plymouth Brethren - Dictionary of Hymnology by Julian


The 4th stanza above is not part of the original, but I think it is an improvement. The original 4th and 5th stanzas are:

4 Himself He could not save,

Love's stream too deeply flowed,

In love Himself He gave,

To pay the debt we owed.

Obedience to His Father's will,

And love to Him did all fulfil.


5 And now exalted high: ---

A Prince and Saviour He,

That sinners might draw nigh

And drink of mercy free,

Of mercy now so richly shed,

For Jesus liveth who was dead.

Santoso Adhiwana

Jakarta, Indonesia

It is indeed one of the best spiritual songs. If I may make a suggestion I would change "Himself He could not save" into "Himself He wouldn't save" for the following reasons:

John 10:30 says:"I and (my) Father are one." ; and John 3:16 says:"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,"

From these two verses we know that not "Himself He could not save" but "Himself He wouldn't save". So in many Christians believe that crucifixion was actually pre-ordained beforehand, as part of a divine plan in which Jesus had to suffer and die as sacrifice to pay for everyone's sins.


This song is true... let us all praise Him for this.