Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 1
On man, in his own image made...
Manuscript Hymn No. 260
On man, in his own image made,
How much did GOD bestow?
The whole creation homage paid,
And owned him LORD below!
He dwelt in Eden's garden, stored
With sweets for every sense;
And there, with his descending LORD,
He walked in confidence.
But, oh! by sin how quickly changed!
His honour forfeited,
His heart from GOD and truth estranged,
His conscience filled with dread!
Now from his Maker's voice he flees,
Which was before his joy;
And thinks to hide, amidst the trees,
From an all-seeing eye.
Compelled to answer to his name;
With stubbornness and pride,
He cast on GOD himself the blame;
Nor once for mercy cried.
But grace, unasked, his heart subdued,
And all his guilt forgave;
By faith the promised seed he viewed,
And felt his power to save.
Thus we ourselves would justify,
Though we the law transgress;
Like him, unable to deny,
Unwilling to confess.
But when by faith the sinner sees
A pardon bought with blood;
Then he forsakes his foolish pleas,
And gladly turns to GOD.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Sunday 1 December 1776
My merciful Lord, thou art pleased still to continue my trial and my support. My Dear is afflicted… I praise thee for thy help through the Sabbath. I can do nothing without it. Had some liberty in the several services… But at thy table, alas, alas my Lord. Surely I am the most insensible of all thy people. It seemed as if I had not a thought or desire of a spiritual kind. However it be with others, I must be an advocate for Absolute Grace, how else can I have any hope. Lord pardon and accept me, and command a blessing upon us.
Tuesday 3 December 1776
This day my Dear seemed so much better that I mentioned at the Great House, my hope that she was almost relieved. Yet she had a bad night, and all my fears and anxieties returned. O my Lord I am very weak. Why should I be thus anxious when all is in thy hand, and thou dost all things well. Why do I thus distrust either thy compassion, or thy power, or thy attention? O how hard to realise the truths which I know, yea it is impossible without thee. Help me to bear – and help me to pray and believe for a deliverance. At the Great House spoke from 1 Peter 1:3 [Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.]
Thursday 5 December 1776
We are still in the furnace, but I hope thou my Gracious Lord art near us as a refiner of silver. I hope this affliction has quickened me to prayer, and will be sanctified to us both. Met the children – have often much liberty in that exercise. I am now going through the Gospel of Luke, and spoke today from chapter 5 verses 27-32 […They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.] In the evening preached… the words had been upon my mind all day, and suggest a useful meditation. Psalm 89:13 [Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.]
8 December 1776
Accept my poor thanks my dearest Lord for thy mercy in supporting us under our trial, and alleviating its weight, though it is not yet removed. I hope my_[dear Mary] is upon the whole better, and that thou wilt in due time restore her. O make me chiefly solicitous that the dispensation may be sanctified to us both. Thou didst mercifully lead me through this day, and help me to fulfil the public service. May thy blessing attend the word, to revive thy work amongst thy people, and to awaken poor sinners. Thou seemest to withhold thy power, the love of some waxes cold, many of the best are removed, and I see but few raising up to supply their places.
Hymn No. 260
[On this date Newton preached from the above texts at his church, St Peter & St Paul, Olney, during the morning and afternoon services, and from this hymn at the informal evening service]
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University
Marylynn Rouse, 29/08/2013