Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 106

Our Lord, who knows full well...

Manuscript Hymn No. 227

227 v1

Chapter 18:1-7

The Importunate Widow (a)

Our Lord, who knows full well
The heart of every saint,
Invites us by a parable,
To pray and never faint.

He bows his gracious ear,
We never plead in vain;
Yet we must wait till he appear,
And pray, and pray again.

Though unbelief suggest,
Why should we longer wait?
He bids us never give him rest,
But be importunate.

'Twas thus a widow poor,
Without support or friend,
Beset the unjust judge's door,
And gained, at last, her end.

For her he little cared,
As little for the laws;
Nor God, nor man, did he regard,
Yet he espoused her cause.

She urged him day and night,
Would no denial take;
At length he said, “I'll do her right,
For my own quiet's sake.”

And shall not Jesus hear
His chosen when they cry?
Yes, though he may a while forbear,
He'll help them from on high.

His nature, truth, and love,
Engage him on their side;
When they are grieved, his bowels move, (b)
And can they be denied?

Then let us earnest be,
And never faint in prayer;
He loves our importunity,
And makes our cause his care.

(a) See also Book 2, Hymn 60
(b) ['bowels' refers to the seat of compassion, as in 1 John 3:17 AV]

John Newton bw better 150 x 55
  from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:

Tuesday 5 December 1775
This day I attended a meeting of Baptist Ministers, and heard in preaching and in prayer the very same truths which thou O Lord hast taught and delivered to me. Though in many things thy people differ, and through unhappy prejudice are too much divided among themselves, they are one in thee. Brother Symonds described my case from 2 Corinthians 1:9 [but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead]. [Brother] Pike pointed at my remedy from Psalm 61:2 [From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I]. At the Great House in the evening I pursued their plan and showed the happy issue of trusting in thee when we have received a sentence of death in ourselves, and of cleaving to thee as a drowning man to a rock when our spirits are overwhelmed within us, from Revelation 12:11 [And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.] Yes thou hast said, and thy word is Truth, such shall never be ashamed, for thou wilt deliver them out of all troubles, and make them more than conquerors. Yesterday went to visit [shorthand] Perry who has been ill, and in the afternoon thy people at Emberton.

Thursday 7 December 1775
I have reason to praise thee I hope, for making me the instrument of bringing Mr Teedon from Bedford. It has caused the children’s meeting to flourish, as to numbers, and as thou givest me liberty to speak to them, I hope, I trust, I shall not speak in vain. Help me to sow in patience and to wait in hope. In the evening I had some freedom in setting forth the richness and freeness of thy grace, and though there were but few hearers, if Thou art pleased to give a blessing to those few, it shall suffice. I have to praise thee that I still hear well of my Dear and Sally. Lord bless them and sanctify this time of separation. Though they complain they are in a barren land thou canst water them.
Much of my leisure this week has been employed in finishing a long letter to Mr Scott, which will probably close our correspondence, unless thou art pleased to work upon his heart, by what I have already sent or by some other means. O that this opportunity which seems of thine providence may not be in vain. It will be, without thy blessing. Help me to water the seed with earnest prayer.
[lecture:] Isaiah 43:25 [I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.]

Sunday 10 December 1775
I went safely through the day.

Psalm  45:7
Isaiah 12:1
[No hymn stated but probably Hymn No. 227 from the sequence and context]

[On this date Newton preached from the above texts at his church, St Peter & St Paul, Olney, during the morning and afternoon services, and probably from this hymn at the informal evening service]

Image copyright:

Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University

Marylynn Rouse, 10/09/2013