Olney Hymns Book 2 Hymn 76
Courage, my soul! behold the prize...
Manuscript Hymn No. 273
There the weary are at rest
Courage, my soul! behold the prize
The Saviour’s love provides;
Eternal life beyond the skies
For all whom here he guides.
The wicked cease from troubling there,
The weary are at rest; (a)
Sorrow, and sin, and pain and care,
No more approach the blessed.
A wicked world and wicked heart,
With Satan now are joined;
Each acts a too successful part
In harassing my mind.
In conflict with this threefold troop,
How weary, Lord, am I!
Did not thy promise bear me up,
My soul must faint and die.
But fighting in my Saviour’s strength,
Though mighty are my foes,
I shall a conqueror be at length
O'er all that can oppose.
Then why, my soul, complain or fear?
The crown of glory see!
The more I toil and suffer here,
The sweeter rest will be.
(a) Job 3:17
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Tuesday 15 April 1777
Mr Barham left us yesterday after breakfast – and Mr Bull and Mr Smith of Bedford dined with us and stayed till near seven. The latter seems very sensible, amiable and modest – and we had upon the whole a good day. But I see my Lord, we are all empty cisterns unless supplied from me[thee]. My spirit often feels dry after spending hours with those from whom I have had large expectations, and doubtless they are no less disappointed in me. Yet I am eager of creature converse, but reluctant in waiting upon thee. I expect much from a few drops of grace in a creature, while the Fountain of living waters is near me, and I can hardly prevail upon myself, to come to thee, that I may drink.
Answered a dismal letter I lately received from Holyhead. Ah, quanta spe decidi [Terence: 'from what high expectations am I fallen!']. After such changes, I hoped he would prove most established and exemplary. Lord, thou canst yet restore him and disappoint Satan. O may he obtain pardoning, healing mercy, and live to turn many to righteousness. What thanks do I owe thee that I have been kept, while so many fall. For surely had I not been kept by thy hand, as bad or worse would have been my story.
Thursday 17 April 1777
Yesterday walked to Brayfield, Mr Whitford with me, to see JK who has been some time ill. They seem a happy though afflicted family, called to know the faith and the patience of the saints. Some talk by the way. Saw Mrs Perry, who glorifies in thee in the fire, but it is by thine own enabling power. In such cases we see proofs of thy faithfulness. Lord suffer me not to distrust thy promise, but firmly to believe thou wilt strengthen me at all times according to my day.
Sunday 20 April 1777
Surely my Lord, I have seldom been more empty and unprovided on a Sabbath. But thou didst provide, and carry me through the day. Mr Thornton sent me an extract from a letter of Mr King's – he was well received at Hull, and has a good prospect of acceptance and usefulness. As thou didst in wisdom and mercy, overrule to prevent my going thither, though my removal seemed to be fixed, I ought to be interested both in the Minister and the people. My Lord, I would pray thee to make him a blessing to many of them, and them a comfort and crown to him.
Hymn No. 273
[No preaching texts mentionned. On this date Newton preached from this hymn at the informal evening service at Olney.]
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Marylynn Rouse, 11/09/2013