Olney Hymns Book 2 Hymn 19
Elisha, struck with grief and awe...
Manuscript Hymn No. 333
HYMNS BEFORE ANNUAL SERMONS TO YOUNG PEOPLE, ON NEW-YEARS EVENINGS
[New Year's Hymns 1779: 2/3]
2 Kings 2:11-14
Elisha, struck with grief and awe,
Cried, "Ah! where now is Israel's stay?"
When he his honoured master saw
Borne by a fiery car away.
But while he looked a last adieu,
His mantle, as it fell, he caught;
The Spirit rested on him too,
And equal miracles he wrought.
"Where is Elijah's God?" he cried,
And with the mantle smote the flood;
His word controlled the swelling tide,
The obedient waters upright stood.
The wonder-working gospel, thus
From hand to hand, has been conveyed;
We have the mantle still with us,
But where, O where, the Spirit's aid?
When Peter first this mantle waved, (a)
How soon it melted hearts of steel!
Sinners, by thousands, then were saved,
But now how few its virtues feel!
Where is Elijah's God, the Lord,
Thine Israel's hope, and joy, and boast?
Reveal thine arm, confirm thy word,
Give us another Pentecost!
Assist thy messenger to speak,
And while he aims to lisp thy truth,
The bonds of sin and Satan break,
And pour thy blessing on our youth.
For them we now approach thy throne,
Teach them to know and love thy name;
Then shall thy thankful people own
Elijah's God is still the same.
(a) Acts 2
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Friday 1 January 1779
My glorious and powerful God, how hast thou swept the earth and the sea in the last night with thy terrible storm. And multitudes probably have been in jeopardy and in the agonies of death while I have been sleeping. Thou hast raised me up to begin the New Year in health and peace. O may I seek and obtain thy blessing upon it, for myself and mine – my dear – my child – my people and my friends.
Last night I heard my friend Scott preach at Weston [Underwood] from 1 Timothy 4:8. How should I wonder and rejoice. Surely when thou wilt work, none can let it. What liberty, power and judgment, in so young a preacher! May thy comfort fill his heart and thy blessing crown his labours.
Now my Lord help me to pray and praise, and once more to devote and surrender myself and my all to thee. Thou hast and dost deliver, in thee I trust to be with me to the end, and then to take me to be with thee, forever. How short is the last year upon a review, how full of vanity and trouble, every day marked with folly on my part, as with mercies on thine – and I nearer by a whole year to eternity than I was on a certain day, which seems to me almost like yesterday. O Lord teach me how to live, prepare me for every change, especially that great change which must come, and which I desire to consider rather as desirable, than as unavoidable.
Preached in the morning with some liberty. We had much company to dinner. My spirit was dull and cold towards the evening service, till I entered upon it. Then I trust thou didst in some degree hear my prayers. Yet it was not so pleasant an opportunity as some that I have formerly known, but if thou art pleased to work by the word, it shall be made useful. The congregation was pretty large. The storm last night, disturbed our rest, and my _[dear Polly] was very ill this morning; but well again in the evening, though she could not go out, on account of the severe cold.
Hymn No. 333
[On this date Newton preached from the above texts at his church, St Peter & St Paul, Olney, during the morning and evening services, including this hymn at the New Year's evening service]
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Marylynn Rouse, 11/09/2013