Olney Hymns Book 2 Hymn 15
Preachers may from Ezekiel's case...
Manuscript Hymn No. 187
HYMNS BEFORE ANNUAL SERMONS TO YOUNG PEOPLE, ON NEW-YEARS EVENINGS
[New Year's Hymns for 1775: 2/3]
Preaching to the dry bones
[ms: Can these dry bones live?]
Preachers may from Ezekiel's case
Draw hope in this declining day;
A proof like this, of sovereign grace,
Should chase our unbelief away.
When sent to preach to mouldering bones,
Who could have thought he would succeed?
But well he knew the LORD from stones
Could raise up Abrah'm's chosen seed.
Can these be made a numerous host,
And such dry bones new life receive?
The prophet answered, "Lord, thou know'st,
They shall, if thou commandment give."
Like him, around I cast my eye,
And oh! what heaps of bones appear;
Like him, by Jesus sent, I'll try,
For he can cause the dead to hear.
Hear, ye dry bones, the Saviour's word!
He, who when dying, gasped, "Forgive,"
That gracious, sinner-loving Lord,
Says, "Look to me, dry bones, and live."
Thou heavenly wind, awake and blow,
In answer to the prayer of faith;
Now thine almighty influence show,
And fill dry bones with living breath.
O make them hear, and feel, and shake,
And, at thy call, obedient move;
The bonds of death and Satan break,
And bone to bone unite in love.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
[before sermon on Deuteronomy 6:21-23]
Friday 30 December 1774
My leisure which has been but little this week, has been chiefly applied to the hymns and sermon for New year's Evening [i.e. the evening of New Year’s Day]. Mr & Mrs Trinder and Mrs Cooper came this afternoon.
Saturday 31 December 1774
Engaged most of the day with my friends, but this evening I retire from them desiring to close the week and the year with solemn praise and prayer to the God of my life and the strength of my days who has now crowned another year with his goodness. Except the late stroke of my brother's death, we have had no trial but the ordinary little crosses which are inseparable from the happiest life in this imperfect state. Our supports have been seasonable, our supplies abundant, our mercies new every morning. Innumerable have been the proofs I have received of the Lord's goodness in the course of this year, and alas countless likewise have been the proofs which I have given and found that sin dwelleth in me. Several of the Lord's dear people have been removed, but I trust the number of those who desire to seek his face is not upon the whole decreased. My dear friend [Wiliam Cowper] is in many respects better that he was this time twelvemonth – some of his most dreadful temptations removed, his spirit more at liberty to attend to common incidents, yet the main stress of his disorder still remains. Lord accept praise for what is favourable in his case, and help us to persevere in prayer for a full deliverance. Many think his malady incurable – but I look to the love that relieved him before and to the power that can do all things, and cause light to shine out of darkness. Now Lord be pleased to pardon and accept me, to renew my spirit, to strengthen my faith, and to prepare me new blessings with the new year. O for thy power to be with me and in me tomorrow, that the word may be blessed to old and young. Be gracious to my dear M_[Mary]. May her soul truly and earnestly seek thee. Be gracious to the dear child thou hast given us. May she feel thy grace, and be numbered among thy children. Bless my whole family. Make crooked things straight and all things work together for good. Bless all my friends, relatives and benefactors. O give us all a good new year, and prepare us for the great year of eternity, that we may meet and rejoice in thy kingdom for ever. Amen.
Sunday 1 January 1775
New Year’s day falling this year upon the Sabbath, I had not time for retirement and writing as usual. I rose early, and sought the Lord’s blessing in the midst of many wanderings and interruptions. I would begin the New Year with praise for the mercies of the past, and with a new surrender of myself and my all to the Lord. O that I could be duly humbled for my former deviations, shortcomings and follies, and now at length in good earnest be devoted wholly to Him, and maintain a conscience void of offence. O Lord pardon, renew and strengthen me, that both as a child and a servant I may maintain communion with thee, and walk before thee with a single eye doing thy will from the heart.
In the several services of this day I was favoured with some liberty – and found enough to say in the evening when I preached my annual sermon to the young people, but I could have wished my spirit more engaged. O Lord do thou command a blessing.
[Hymn Nos. 186, 187, 188]
Hymn No. 187
[On this date Newton preached from the above texts at his church, St Peter & St Paul, Olney, during the morning and evening services, and from this hymn at the New Year's evening service]
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Marylynn Rouse, 11/09/2013