Olney Hymns Book 2 Hymn 42
Let hearts and tongues unite...
Manuscript Hymn No. 292
THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR
[Close of the year 1777: 1/3]
Let hearts and tongues unite,
And loud thanksgivings raise;
'Tis duty, mingled with delight,
The Saviour's name to praise.
To him we owe our breath,
He took us from the womb,
Which else had shut us up in death,
And proved an early tomb.
When on the breast we hung,
Our help was in the Lord;
'Twas he first taught our infant tongue
To form the lisping word.
When in our blood we lay,
He would not let us die,
Because his love had fixed a day
To bring salvation nigh.
In childhood and in youth,
His eye was on us still;
Though strangers to his love and truth,
And prone to cross his will.
And since his name we knew,
How gracious has he been!
What dangers has he led us through,
What mercies have we seen!
Now through another year,
Supported by his care;
We raise our Ebenezer here,
"The Lord has helped thus far."
Our lot in future years
Unable to foresee,
He kindly, to prevent our fears,
Says, "Leave it all to me."
Yea, Lord, we wish to cast
Our cares upon thy breast!
Help us to praise thee for the past,
And trust thee for the rest.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Tuesday 23 December 1777
Aiming when have leisure, to prepare the New Year's hymns. But most of this day was engaged with thy servant Bull, who came at ten and stayed till near dark. Interviews with him are always pleasant. May it please thee to make them profitable. I would borrow from him, not only light, but warmth, and imitate him in that practical impression of thy truths, which I believe thou hast favoured him with in a considerable measure. At the Great [House] I finished 1 Peter chapter 2. Lord I was astray indeed when found by thee in the wilderness. O keep my soul closely, safely under the shadow of thy wing, and under thine eye, and let me rejoice in thee as my Shepherd and Bishop.
Friday 25 December 1777 Christmas
Preach from two texts which I talked over with Mr Bull, and I believe he would preach from the same. Heard Mr Whitford in the afternoon from 1 Timothy 3:16. Our evening congregation was large. O Lord do thou command a blessing, and forgive the iniquity of our holy things. I praise thee for the great mercy of liberty in public service. Justly thou mightest take thy word out of my mouth. But ah how cold is my heart. How wild, wandering and unaffected was I at thy table – as if engaged in a ceremony that had no truth or meaning. O that thou wouldst draw nigh, and make my heart spiritual and feeling. Surely I am thine, thou art and shalt be my Lord and my trust and my treasure. Why then so stupid and unfeeling?
Sunday 28 December 1777
Again supported and favoured with liberty. Lord I would praise thee for all mercies. The evening hymn led [me] to consider thy goodness in past years of life. For myself, surely I may say, Mercy and goodness have followed me all my days. Love bid me live when lying in my blood, Love redeemed me from Africa, saved me from sinking in the ocean, then touched my heart, became my guide, prepared my way, and gave me a long succession of blessings, and it is well with me thus far. Health, peace, and the restoration of my Dear, so much beyond what I could hope this time twelvemonth. Though I could speak today, thou my Lord only knowest the folly and vanity which filled my heart, especially in the afternoon. Though I smarted in the spring for listening to the thoughts of a change, yet I am again haunted with it and while I would resist and drive it away, I feel another will, that cleaves to the proposal, and would build castles upon it, as if, it had actually taken place. So weak and vile am I. O that I could more feelingly say, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.
2 Chronicles 20:12
Hymn No. 291 [should be No. 292]
[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]
Wednesday 31 December 1777
Thy mercy my gracious Lord, has now brought me and mine, in peace and safety to the close of the year. What praises do I owe thee for health, provision and protection, through another year…
In the evening heard Mr Whitford's sermon to the young people. He was very faithful and earnest – from 2 John 4. May thy blessing crown this threefold service. Help me not to entreat that thy presence may be with me, and [not] with equal sincerity that it may be with the other Ministers. I would long that good may be done, and be well pleased that all who serve thee in the Gospel, may have a share in it, as instruments in thy hand, without limiting my regard to names, parties or persons. Such the spirit would be the best token for comfort and success to myself.
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Marylynn Rouse, 11/09/2013