Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 32
Though sore beset with guilt and fear...
Manuscript Hymn No. 205
Cast down, but not destroyed
Though sore beset with guilt and fear,
I cannot, dare not, quite despair;
If I must perish, would the Lord
Have taught my heart to love his word?
Would he have given me eyes to see (a)
My danger, and my remedy,
Revealed his name, and bid me pray,
Had he resolved to say me nay?
No – though cast down I am not slain;
I fall, but I shall rise again; (b)
The present, Satan, is thy hour,
But Jesus shall control thy power:
His love will plead for my relief,
He hears my groans, he sees my grief;
Nor will he suffer thee to boast,
A soul that sought his help was lost.
'Tis true, I have unfaithful been,
And grieved his Spirit by my sin;
Yet still his mercy he'll reveal,
And all my wounds and follies heal:
Abounding sin, I must confess, (c)
But more abounding is his grace;
He once vouchsafed for me to bleed,
And now he lives my cause to plead.
I'll cast myself before his feet,
I see him on his mercy-seat,
('Tis sprinkled with atoning blood);
There sinners find access to God:
Ye burdened souls, approach with me,
And make the Saviour’s name your plea;
Jesus will pardon all who come,
And strike our fierce accuser dumb.
(a) Judges 13:23
(b) Micah 7:8
(c) Romans 5:20
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Monday 15 May 1775
Walked in the forenoon with Mr Whitford, talking of the turns we have seen in life since our first acquaintance. In the evening he preached at Mr Drake’s from Philippians 1:6.
Tuesday 16 May
We breakfasted at Mr Perry’s and returned by Clifton. The walk to the Mill was pleasant, the rest trifling – Mr _ joining us, and a third person often breaks in to disadvantage. At the Great House I spoke from Colossians 3:15.[And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.]
Wednesday 17 May
Mr [Whitford] went by himself to breakfast at Clifton. I retrieved the morning for writing. I am sadly behind in correspondence and yet cannot recover my ground. Mr W preached in the evening from Isaiah 12:2 [Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.]
Thursday 18 May
Mr [Whitford] left us this morning. Met the children and preached in the evening as usual. Mr Teedon has been here again, has taken a house, and will remove to settle here soon. Received an unexpected letter from Mr Scott my brother curate near me, very long and frank. It seems dictated by a spirit in search of the truth.
1 Corinthians 3:21,22 [Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your's; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your's;]
Saturday 20 May
This has been a week of mercies. On my part much amiss – My mind still entangled. I sigh for freedom, and sometimes think it near, but as yet I groan. A walk in the evening – but my near companion, a wandering corrupt heart, spoiled the proposed opportunity.
Sunday 21 May
Overslept, which I seldom do on Sundays. Mercifully helped through the day. In my morning discourse I had some view to Mrs T[F?] – the death of her son and other troubles are heavy upon her, and her spirit has been much softened of late. Hymn No. 205.
Psalm 31:9 Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Hymn No. 205
[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