Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 5
Sinner, hear the Saviour's call...
Manuscript Hymn No. 324
SOLEMN ADDRESSES TO SINNERS
Sinner, hear the Saviour’s call,
He now is passing by;
He has seen thy grievous thrall,
And heard thy mournful cry.
He has pardons to impart,
Grace to save thee from thy fears,
See the love that fills his heart,
And wipe away thy tears.
Why art thou afraid to come
And tell him all thy case?
He will not pronounce thy doom,
Nor frown thee from his face:
Wilt thou fear Emmanuel?
Wilt thou dread the Lamb of God,
Who, to save thy soul from hell,
Has shed his precious blood?
Think, how on the cross he hung
Pierced with a thousand wounds!
Hark, from each as with a tongue
The voice of pardon sounds!
See, from all his bursting veins,
Blood, of wondrous virtue, flow!
Shed to wash away thy stains,
And ransom thee from woe.
Though his majesty be great,
His mercy is no less;
Though he thy transgressions hate,
He feels for thy distress:
By himself the Lord has sworn,
He delights not in thy death; (a)
But invites thee to return,
That thou mayst live by faith.
Raise thy downcast eyes, and see
What throngs his throne surround!
These, though sinners once like thee,
Have full salvation found:
Yield not then to unbelief!
While he says, "There yet is room";
Though of sinners thou art chief,
Since Jesus calls thee, come.
(a) Ezekiel 33:11
Similar Hymns: [relating to this whole section]
Book 1, Hymns 75, 91
Book 2, Hymns 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 35, 77, 78, 83
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Tuesday 20 October 1778
Yesterday went with Mr Scott and drank tea with Mr Page at Clifton; stay was short, nothing remarkable passed. Today Mr and Mrs Miles and Mrs Robinson of Leicester came. Mr M is nervously indisposed, so that though possessed of a handsome fortune, he can at present take little comfort in anything. My dearest Lord, dost thou send such cases under my roof, to remind me more sensibly of the value of the mercies thou affordest and continuest to me, and to mine. How light may all trials seem compared with those which affect or threaten the senses! We had I hope a pleasant meeting at the Great House.
Thursday 22 October
Met the children. In the evening Mr Page preached. He is a loud and earnest rather than a judicious preacher. But he has been much admired and followed by many since he came to Clifton. If thou art pleased to make him useful to them I hope to rejoice in it. He said many good and some striking things, yet the sermon would not please hearers of a good judgement. Though perhaps what we call taste and good judgement is oftentimes a hindrance to edification. Simple people can get benefit, when those of more knowledge are disgusted. He aimed to deduce his subject from Genesis 35:8 [But Deborah, Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth] in which according to him Deborah signified the Law, Rebecca the Church, and the oak denoted the Cross of Christ, under which the power of the law dies and is buried as to believers. Some admire the ingenuity of those who can find what they please in such quaint texts, which is perhaps a temptation to preachers to give into this way. But thou canst make thine own truth useful, however delivered.
Saturday 24 October
The week by thy blessing closes comfortably. We are all favoured with health. O let our souls live and prosper and praise thee. I have begun to prepare for transcribing the hymns for publication. Help me to begin, carry on and end everything in thee. I was called this week to visit [Samuel] Robython – a poor creature dying of old age at 25, by drink and intemperance. Often warned, often under convictions – but linked in with the unhappy set here, who seem determined to ruin themselves and each other. He seemed terrified at the thought of death, but no otherwise affected. This is the second instance within this month, of the destructive effects of sin (the other William D_, he who died when I was last at Bedford). Oh that some may lay it to heart.
Sunday 25 October 1778
I thank thee my Lord for another good day. We were all able to go out. And thou didst help me to preach. SR died this morning. His removal led me to my afternoon's subject, though I did not mention him. But his companions who often attend were mostly gone to hear Mr Page. O do thou speak to them by him. They took little pleasure in hearing me, I would hope their following him is a token that thou hast touched their hearts by him. May I rejoice in every appearance of usefulness, and be heartily willing thou shouldst work by whom thou wilt. On Friday I finished the eleventh year in this habitation [the renewed vicarage] thou hast provided me. How many mercies have I known in it? How many trials, and consequently how many supports, for I am still alive to praise thee. A letter from Brother Harry – O Lord preserve and teach him.
1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Hymn No. 324
[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]
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University
Marylynn Rouse, 12/09/2013