Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 29
How David, when by sin deceived...
Manuscript Hymn No. 267
How David, when by sin deceived,
From bad to worse went on!
For when the Holy Spirit's grieved,
Our strength and guard are gone.
His eye on Bathsheba once fixed,
With poison filled his soul;
He ventured on adultery next,
And murder crowned the whole.
So from a spark of fire at first,
That has not been descried;
A dreadful flame has often burst,
And ravaged far and wide.
When sin deceives, it hardens too,
For though he vainly sought
To hide his crimes from public view,
Of God he little thought.
He neither would nor could repent,
No true compunction felt;
'Till God in mercy Nathan sent,
His stubborn heart to melt.
The parable held forth a fact,
Designed his case to show;
But though the picture was exact,
Himself he did not know.
"Thou art the man," the prophet said,
That word his slumber broke;
And when he owned his sin, and prayed,
The Lord forgiveness spoke.
Let those who think they stand beware,
For David stood before;
Nor let the fallen soul despair,
For mercy can restore.
26 January 1777
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Wednesday 22 January 1777
Mr Symonds came early and stayed till after dinner. From him I learnt the unhappy fall of poor Mr Thomason. O the power and deceitfulness of sin and Satan. Help me to cry daily, Hold thou me up and I shall be safe [Psalm 119:117]. There is no safety but in thee. He is a man whom I thought remarkably humble and spiritual. And now after so many years walking humbly to make such a dreadful blot. O that thy mercy may restore him, and make his case a warning to many.
Thursday 23 January 1777
Preached in the evening to a small congregation. Psalm 119:94 [I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.]
Sunday 26 January 1777
At the Great House my mind was sadly dissipated, till I came to speak, and then all for the season was forgotten.
Hymn No. 267
[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