Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 4

Sinner, art thou still secure?...

Manuscript Hymn No. 208

208 v1



Prepare to meet God

Sinner, art thou still secure?
Wilt thou still refuse to pray?
Can thy heart or hands endure
In the Lord's avenging day?
See, his mighty arm is bared!
Aweful terrors clothe his brow!
For his judgment stand prepared,
Thou must either break or bow.

At his presence nature shakes,
Earth affrighted hastes to flee,
Solid mountains melt like wax,
What will then become of thee?
Who his advent may abide?
You that glory in your shame,
Will you find a place to hide
When the world is wrapped in flame?

Then the rich, the great, the wise,
Trembling, guilty, self-condemned,
Must behold the wrathful eyes
Of the Judge they once blasphemed:
Where are now their haughty looks?
Oh, their horror and despair!
When they see the opened books,
And their dreadful sentence hear!

Lord prepare us by thy grace!
Soon we must resign our breath;
And our souls be called, to pass
Through the iron gate of death:
Let us now our day improve,
Listen to the gospel voice;
Seek the things that are above,
Scorn the world's pretended joys.

Oh! when flesh and heart shall fail,
Let thy love our spirits cheer;
Strengthened thus, we shall prevail
Over Satan, sin, and fear:
Trusting in thy precious name,
May we thus our journey end;
Then our foes hall lose their aim,
And the Judge will be our Friend.

John Newton bw better 150 x 55
  from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:

Tuesday 13 June 1775
Drank tea yesterday with Mr Drake [Independent minister at Olney], who seems to be declining apace. My decline will come – O for grace to improve my opportunities now, but alas… This morning we met again at five [to pray about the American War of Independence] and I hope the Lord was with us. In the evening I spoke from Colossians 3:17.
Thursday 15 June
Last night heard Mr Langford from Revelation 22:5.  He seems a warm-hearted faithful preacher. Met the children and preached in the evening.
Psalm 88:8
Friday 16 June
Walked this forenoon to Yardley, with Sally Johnson, and Mr Forster, a plain man who came yesterday from Kettering to see me. I spoke at Mr Garley’s from 2 Timothy 1:12.  Mr F proceeded homewards. Sally and I returned in time to hear Mr Ashburner in the evening, from 1 John 4:19. He preached well. But I little impressed with the wonderful subject…
Saturday 17 June
A dry disconcerted spirit – distant from the Lord, yet in my evening walk enabled in some measure to mourn after him. O for such a healing as might be accompanied with power – that the Lord would break the Tempter’s snare and set my soul at liberty.
Sunday 18 June 1775
Had a consciousness how justly the Lord might refuse me that assistance without which I can do nothing. I was likewise a little indisposed till I began to preach – then I soon obtained liberty, and went comfortably through the day. O who is a God like unto thee? [Micah 7:18] Lord let thy goodness lead me to repentance not to be repented of! Spoke from Hymn No. 208. Mr Ashburner preaching in the evening, the Great House was less crowded than usual. American affairs seem darker every post.
Isaiah 3:10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Hymn No. 208

[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]

Image copyright:

Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University

Marylynn Rouse, 11/09/2013