Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 124
When the Apostle wonders wrought...
Manuscript Hymn No. 254
When the Apostle wonders wrought,
And healed the sick in Jesus’ name;
The sons of Sceva vainly thought
That they had power to do the same.
On one possessed they tried their art,
And naming Jesus preached by Paul,
They charged the spirit to depart,
Expecting he’d obey their call.
The spirit answered, with a mock,
“Jesus I know, and Paul I know;
I must have gone if Paul had spoke;
But who are ye that bid me go?”
With fury then the man he filled,
Who on the poor pretenders flew;
Naked and wounded, almost killed,
They fled in all the people's view.
Jesus! that name, pronounced by faith,
Is full of wonder-working power;
It conquers Satan, sin, and death,
And cheers in trouble’s darkest hour.
But they who are not born again,
Know nothing of it but the sound;
They do but take his name in vain,
When most their zeal and pains abound.
Satan their vain attempts derides,
Whether they talk, or pray, or preach;
Long as the love of sin abides,
His power is safe beyond their reach.
But you, believers, may rejoice,
Satan well knows your mighty friend;
He trembles at your Saviour’s voice,
And owns he cannot gain his end.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Tuesday 20 August 1776
My days pass off I know not how. Amazing swift. And though I am not quite idle, I seem not to get forward. I neither write or read or pray so much as formerly. A languor hangs upon my mind – yet it is not sickness but sin. It does not proceed from any defect of natural spirits, but of thine absence. O thou Sun of my soul, who justly withholdest thy cheering influences from me; and then, what am I, but a Caput mortuum – a mass of earth.
Thursday 22 August 1776
Thou hast graciously stopped the threatening rains, and given us bright, settled harvest weather for which I desire to praise thee. But alas neither the contemplation of impending judgements (which seem likely to be the sure effect of our unhappy disputes with America) nor the sense of present mercies, can influence my mind to walk simply before thee. This evening alas! My folly and wilfulness – but what shall I say? Ah my Lord how amazing is thy long-suffering! Oh for thy mercy‘s sake, renew forgiveness, and give me such supply of strength, that I may be at peace and sin and trifle no more. Preached in the evening. Could hardly catch at a text. But thou didst help me to speak. How does thy goodness aggravate my perverseness! When O when shall I [be] wise, and cease from counteracting my own prayers, and destroying my own comforts. [lecture:] 1 Chronicles 5:20 […they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him.]
Saturday 24 August 1776
A walk in the evening – but found little enlargement or comfort. Alas my Lord, what are my attempts to seek thee, unless thou art pleased to show thyself. I seemed desirous of a good day tomorrow, but is not this often a selfish desire. Ah, how can I say that I love thee when my heart is so little with thee. Yet thou art and must be my Lord, my hope and my portion. To whom else could I go, who is worthy of my love, or able to satisfy my desires but the Lord alone. O hide thy face from my sins, and reveal it to my heart, that I may again rejoice in thee, and find thy joy my strength.
Sunday 25 August 1776
Assisted by thy hand in public, and favoured with some relentings of heart and longings after thee. Read something in the life of Blackerby; by such instances I see what is attainable, and if by others, why not by me? Why should I go mourning all the day, as if halting between two opinions. Is not thy grace free? Are not thy promises open? If I ask, Why am I thus? I hear thee say, O that thou hadst hearkened unto me, then had thy peace been like a river [Isaiah 48:10]. Lord heal my wounds and renew my pardon and my strength.
Exodus 20:7 [Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.]
Hymn No. 254
[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