Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 69
From pole to pole let others roam...
Manuscript Hymn No. 327
The Lord is my portion
From pole to pole let others roam,
And search in vain for bliss;
My soul is satisfied at home,
The Lord my portion is.
Jesus, who on his glorious throne
Rules heaven, and earth, and sea,
Is pleased to claim me for his own,
And give himself to me.
His person fixes all my love,
His blood removes my fear;
And while he pleads for me above,
His arm preserves me here.
His word of promise is my food,
His Spirit is my guide;
Thus daily is my strength renewed,
And all my wants supplied. (a)
For him I count as gain each loss,
Disgrace, for him, renown;
Well may I glory in his cross,
While he prepares my crown!
Let worldlings then indulge their boast,
How much they gain or spend;
Their joys must soon give up the ghost,
But mine shall know no end.
(a) See also Book 3, Hymn 59
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Sunday 8 November 1778
A letter from Mr Symonds informs me of the heavy affliction thou hast been pleased to lay upon his family, in visiting him, his wife and four children with a putrid fever and sore throat, which has raged and been very fatal at Bedford. Mrs S and one child still ill, the rest better. How soon may such a trial be mine. It is encouraging to see thy faithfulness in supporting thy children according to their day. He is comfortable, thankful and resigned, and gives evidence that thy grace is with him and that the stroke is sanctified. Oh, may it be so with us whenever afflictions come, and then we need not fear them. I thank thee for assisting me through the day. In the afternoon began the history of Jonah. Help me to read my own in it. So rebellious have I been – so gracious, forbearing and condescending, hast thou been to be[me]. Help me to adore thee and to abhor myself.
Tuesday 10 November 1778
Had some talk with Mrs P_ who after 14 years attendance with us, and much comfort there, seems now upon the point of joining with the Baptists. I have prayed to thee, my Lord, for a right spirit in such affairs. I would dread indulging a spirit of party and interest, which I blame in others. But I have seen no changes of this kind here, which have not been attended with abatement in love, spirituality and liveliness. She is one who loves thee, but her judgement and her head are very weak. If it please thee thou canst keep her where she is, if not, I pray thee to bless her where she goes.
Thursday 12 November 1778
Met the children, and preached in the evening. My text (of whom the world was not worthy) led me to speak of the Christian's superiority to the rest of mankind, in rank, aims and usefulness. Yes, thy grace makes fallen man a noble creature even at present, and givest him and ambition which can be satisfied with nothing less than thine image, presence and glory. Such he is even now, amidst all surrounding infirmities; what will he then be at last, when he shall see thee as thou art, and be made perfectly like thee? Hebrews 11:38 [(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.]
Saturday 14 November 1778
My heart has been wandering, and too little impressed with thy glory and thy grace. My time has been variously employed. Much of it is now allotted to the hymns. I am now retired, and have had some liberty in seeking a blessing on tomorrow. I trust it is the very desire of my heart, that thy Word may be glorified, wherever preached, and that every servant of thine of every name, may be favoured with thy unction and blessing in the work. Lord be pleased to furnish me with suitable messages for tomorrow, and enable me to deliver them with fidelity, affection and success, and when we are assembled do thou meet us with thy gracious presence, according to thy Word.
Sunday 15 November 1778
I thank thee, my Lord, for another Sabbath, and for thy help through returning services. Oh command thy blessing. I aimed to point thee out today to sinners, as glorious and gracious, but except thou thyself sayest to their hearts, Behold me, they will not take notice. The subject of the hymn suggested by Mrs Unwin. O, my Lord, art thou indeed my portion? How is it then I so little rejoicing in thee? And why is my heart so often drawn aside to trifles?
Hymn No. 327
[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, 10/09/2013