Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 24
The lion that on Sampson roared...
Manuscript Hymn No. 234
The lion that on Sampson roared,
And thirsted for his blood,
With honey afterwards was stored,
And furnished him with food.
Believers, as they pass along,
With many lions meet,
But gather sweetness from the strong,
And from the eater, meat.
The lions rage and roar in vain,
For JESUS is their shield;
Their losses prove a certain gain,
Their troubles comfort yield.
The world and Satan join their strength,
To fill their souls with fears;
But crops of joy they reap at length,
From what they sow in tears.
Afflictions make them love the word,
Stir up their hearts to prayer;
And many precious proofs afford
Of their Redeemer's care.
The lions roar but cannot kill,
Then fear them not, my friends;
They bring us, though against their will,
The honey JESUS sends.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Wednesday 24 January 1776
And O be pleased to direct my Dear – she is now counting the hours till she can set out [from Chatham] – lead her forth in the best time, and protect them by the way that we may meet in peace. My mind is full of anxieties about the weather and what they may meet with upon the road. I am sensible my cares are bootless for I cannot help them, and needless for thou presidest over all. Lord when thou shalt graciously answer my prayers, let me not forget, let neither of us forget this interval… O help me to live with thee by the day, and to rest assuredly upon thy promise and providence in all circumstances, and let me see, acknowledge and adore thy hand.
Thursday 25 January 1776
I thank thee, my Lord, that though I feel myself so empty, thou art still pleased to supply me for public service. Had liberty both in speaking to the children and at night. My Dear is still uncertain as to the time of her return. I was willing to expect her this week. But it is in thy hands, there I wish to leave it. But I how much rises in my heart contrary to my better judgment is only known to thee, who alone canst bear with me. Thou remembrest our frames, that we are but dust, weak and sinful, and can do nothing, bear nothing aright without thy merciful help. Strange creature as I am, so much as my heart is interested in the event of this journey, it does not engage me as I could desire, to wrestle in prayer. I rather load myself with a burden of solicitude, than ease myself by casting it upon thee. I would do this, but all thy favours to me must come freely, for I am without strength or desert.
Sunday 28 January 1776
I thank thee for liberty of speaking today – notwithstanding the severe cold – and not withstanding the coldness, dissipation and anxiety of my spirit. Ah I feel my weakness, how much have I said and written concerning dependence and resignation, but Alas! How hard, how impossible to practice what I know and teach, any farther than Thou art pleased to strengthen me. Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief.
Hymn No. 234
[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