Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 140
Hear what the Lord, the great Amen...
Manuscript Hymn No. 195
Hear what the Lord, the great Amen,
The true and faithful witness, says!
He formed the vast creation’s plan,
And searches all our hearts and ways.
To some he speaks as once of old,
“I know thee, thy profession’s vain;
Since thou art neither hot nor cold,
I’ll spit thee from me with disdain.
“Thou boasted, ‘I am wise and rich,
Increased in goods, and nothing need;’
And dost not know thou art a wretch,
Naked, and poor, and blind, and dead.
“Yet while I thus rebuke, I love,
My message is in mercy sent;
That thou mayst my compassion prove,
I can forgive if thou repent.
“Wouldst thou be truly rich and wise?
Come, buy my gold in fire well tried,
My ointment to anoint thine eyes,
My robe thy nakedness to hide.
“See at thy door I stand and knock!
Poor sinner, shall I wait in vain?
Quickly thy stubborn heart unlock,
That I may enter with my train.
“Thou canst not entertain a king,
Unworthy thou of such a guest!
But I my own provisions bring,
To make thy soul a heavenly feast.”
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Tuesday 7 February 1775
Much in our usual course. At the Great House spoke from Colossians 2:16,17. John Wollaston[sic], one of our praying men, left Olney this morning. The mouth of another was opened in his room this evening, Richard Bland. He readily complied when I asked him, and seems modest and promising.
Thursday 9 February 1775
Met the children. Preached in the evening. Had a small congregation, but I hope a good time. A Mr Ranger has been preaching among us in R Stamford’s house, which perhaps prevented some coming, as they can hardly afford to attend every night in the week. There is something that I think reprehensible in this business, but I desire to move softly and to look up to the Lord for direction. Isaiah 43:25
Saturday 11 February 1775
Most of my home hours employed in verse making a Hymn for the Great House, and something for my Dear against tomorrow [their wedding anniversary].
Sunday 12 February 1775
The 25th anniversary of my happy marriage, that great hinge upon which all the leading events of my life, were to turn. We are still preserved to each other, favoured in health, peace and an assemblage of earthly blessings. O for more thankful hearts, and a more spiritual conviction of the uncertainty and brevity of all here, that our souls may be daily looking within the veil. Preached from hand to mouth from texts which I found laid for me in the Desk. In the morning had liberty, afternoon something embarrassed by the subject. At night Laodicea.
Isaiah 8:12,13 [Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.]
Proverbs 16:33 [The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.]
Hymn No. 195
[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