Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 4
By faith in CHRIST I walk with God...
Manuscript Hymn No. 213
Walking with GOD
By faith in CHRIST I walk with GOD,
With heaven, my journey's end, in view;
Supported by his staff and rod, (a)
My road is safe and pleasant too.
I travel through a desert wide,
Where many round me blindly stray;
But he vouchsafes to be my guide, (b)
And will not let me miss my way.
Though snares and dangers throng my path,
And earth and hell my course withstand,
I triumph over all by faith, (c)
Guarded by his Almighty hand.
The wilderness affords no food,
But GOD for my support prepares;
Provides me every needful good,
And frees my soul from wants and cares.
With him sweet converse I maintain,
Great as he is, I dare be free;
I tell him all my grief and pain,
And he reveals his love to me.
Some cordial from his word he brings,
Whene'er my feeble spirit faints;
At once my soul revives and sings,
And yields no more to sad complaints.
I pity all that worldlings talk
Of pleasures that will quickly end;
Be this my choice, O LORD, to walk
With thee, my Guide, my Guard, my Friend.
* the subtitles and Scripture reference are assumed from the previous hymn No. 3 by William Cowper
(a) Psalm 23:4
(b) Psalm 107
(c) Psalm 27:1,2
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Monday 17 July 1775
Forenoon walked to Emberton with Mr Whitford. Visited most of the people there. Hannah Markham still lies in a rejoicing frame. I trust the Lord prolongs her life for the good of those who come to visit her. Purpose going to Stanwick tomorrow, therefore had the meeting at the Great House tonight. Spoke from John 6:68-69 [Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.]
Wednesday 19 July 1775
Mrs Ekin accompanied us to Aldwinkle. I was not very earnest to go but we had an earnest invitation, and I had no reason to repent complying. Though in mixed company the time passed more pleasantly than I expected. We returned to Stanwick about nine at night.
Thursday 20 July 1775
Had leisure to walk and seek the Lord, but my spirit sadly out of tune. In the evening by Mrs Ekin’s desire and appointment, we had a meeting, the house nearly full.
Friday 21 July 1775
Walked in the forenoon for near two hours, and found some relentings of heart, and was enabled with some feeling to look back upon the Lord’s goodness and my own vileness, and to pour out my descries in prayer. Our meeting was fuller tonight than yesterday. More than the house could contain, I suppose not less than 200 people. I was helped to speak with freedom from 2 Corinthians 5:17 [Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.] Many seemed affected. O Lord command a blessing!
Saturday 22 July 1775
This morning set off from Stanwick in Mrs Ekin’s chaise, and the Lord gave us a safe journey home by ten. …. The rest of the day unable to settle to anything, but now in the evening, I am going to take a little walk to seek his blessing upon tomorrow.
Sunday 23 July 1775
The chief use of my diary is to record events, as to the frame of my spirit; what I remark of one week will serve with little variation for the year round. Now and then a little glimpse of a revival, a little power of attention in prayer, but for the most dull and confused in secret, beset with foolish temptations, and a dupe to imaginations vain, foolish and to the last degree undesirable, yet I cannot shake them off; nay, too often my will is entangled so that I cannot desire it. In the midst of all this confusion and sin, I am seldom remarkably straitened in public work. The Lord enabled me to go through this day with some liberty. But O my heart – Could it be known to my fellow creatures, surely they would refuse to hear me, they would shun me as a hypocrite… Spoke from Hymn No. 113 [213 intended] at the Great House, on the subject of Walking with God.
Hymn No. 213
[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