Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 105
A Wordling spent each day...
Manuscript Hymn No. 196
The Rich Man and LAZARUS
A Worldling spent each day
In luxury and state;
While a believer lay,
A beggar at his gate:
Think not the Lord's appointment strange,
Death made a great and lasting change.
Death brought the saint release
From want, disease, and scorn;
And to the land of peace,
His soul, by angels borne,
In Abraham’s bosom safely placed,
Enjoys an everlasting feast.
The rich man also died,
And in a moment fell
From all his pomp and pride
Into the flames of hell:
The beggar’s bliss from far beheld,
His soul with double anguish filled.
“O Abram send," he cries,
(But his request was vain)
"The beggar from the skies
To mitigate my pain!
One drop of water I entreat,
To soothe my tongue’s tormenting heat.”
Let all who worldly pelf (a)
And worldly spirits have,
Observe, each for himself,
The answer Abram gave:
“Remember thou wast filled with good,
While the poor beggar pined for food.
“Neglected at thy door,
With tears he begged his bread;
But now he weeps no more,
His griefs and pains are fled:
His joys eternally will flow,
While thine expire in endless woe.”
Lord, make us truly wise,
To choose thy people's lot,
And earthly joys despise,
Which soon will be forgot:
The greatest evil we can fear,
Is to possess our portion here!
(a) [pelf: money gained dishonourably]
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Wednesday 15 February 1775
Mr [William] Jesse preached in the evening from Luke 13:12 [And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.] Oh that the gracious Lord would put his hand of power upon me, and free me from that infirmity which bows me down, so that often I cannot raise myself up.
Thursday 16 February 1775
The affairs at the Mill in sad confusion. Mrs B_ has at length left the town, and I am afraid a handle will be given for some to speak evil of that which they know not.
Sunday 19 February 1775
Had my usual morning hour, and was helped through the day. Yet my spirit was sadly lean and dry. I can perceive a degree of apparent liveliness and readiness and warmth in preaching, is kept up too often by a kind of external influence in which the heart is little concerned. Yet I ought to be thankful even for this, that my gifts are not wholly dried, my arm withered and my eye darkened. O Lord humble and heal me for thy mercy's sake. The evening Hymn: Lazarus.
Hymn No. 196
[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