Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 37

Begone, unbelief...

Manuscript Hymn No. 183 [5 vol 2]

183 v1


I will trust and not be afraid

Begone, unbelief,
My Saviour is near,
And for my relief
Will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle,
And he will perform;
With Christ in the vessel,
I smile at the storm.

Though dark be my way,
Since he is my guide,
'Tis mine to obey,
'Tis his to provide;
Though cisterns be broken,
And creatures all fail,
The word he has spoken
Shall surely prevail.

His love in time past
Forbids me to think
He'll leave me at last
In trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer
I have in review,
Confirms his good pleasure
To help me quite through.

Determined to save,
He watched o'er my path,
When, Satan's blind slave,
I sported with death;
And can he have taught me
To trust in his name,
And thus far have brought me,
To put me to shame?

Why should I complain
Of want or distress,
Temptation or pain?
He told me no less:
The heirs of salvation,
I know from his word,
Through much tribulation
Must follow their Lord. (a)

How bitter that cup,
No heart can conceive,
Which he drank quite up,
That sinners might live!
His way was much rougher
And darker than mine;
Did Jesus thus suffer,
And shall I repine?

Since all that I meet
Shall work for my good,
The bitter is sweet,
The medicine is food;
Though painful at present,
'Twill cease before long,
And then, oh! how pleasant
The conqueror's song! (b)

(a) Acts 14:22
(b) Romans 8:37
John Newton bw better 150 x 55

An appropriate tune for this hymn is Houghton, by John Henry Gauntlett, who lived in Newton's Olney vicarage when his father was the vicar.
  from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:

Tuesday 1 November 1774
Mr Barham and his two younger daughters [Mary, 17, and Martha, 14] came to dinner – he goes home tomorrow and returns Saturday – they stay till Monday. In the evening spoke from Colossians 2:1 [For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you…] A pretty full house and I hope a good time. My text led me in speaking of Ministers’ conflicts, to speak more than I usually do of myself.
Thursday 3 November
Met the children. The 32nd chapter of Genesis came in course [incl v24: And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day], and I expounded more largely than usual for the sake of my guests. In the evening preached from a text Miss M helped me to, and I believe the subject was acceptable. Such subjects are indeed of frequent use in Olney. I was favoured with liberty.
2 Chronicles 20:1-12 […There cometh a great multitude against thee… And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord… And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? … O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.]
Sunday 6 November
I was assisted through the day, but seemed to have less liberty than usual. Yet as I was enabled to speak the truth, the Lord can equally bless, when the instrument seems weak. Morning subject for Miss Mary Barham.
1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
Monday 7 November 1774
The Miss Barhams went home; as the flood was out and rising I thought it incumbent on me to see them safe to Turvey which I did. On my return, between my own house and the Mill I had a providential deliverance, from being borne down by a furious runaway horse who turned the corner so sharp and suddenly that I could hardly get my horse out of the way.
Tuesday 8 November
Spoke at the Great House from Colossians 2:2 [That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.] There is often an amazing contrast between the strain of my public discourses, and my own present experiences. Remiss myself in a grievous degree, I press others to diligence – and speak with seeming fervour of that communion with God, to which alas I am almost a stranger.
Thursday 10 November
Met the children. In the afternoon felt much of my own evil spirit: uneasiness, foolishness. Ah, what a creature. It seemed impossible to preach, nor could I fix on any text. Took one at last almost without choice, or knowing or guessing what I should say. The Lord preserve me from having my own heart let loose upon me. Indeed I am every way in a poor frame. A spirit of Indolence and trifling sadly prevents the usual improvement of my time, and I know not to fix to anything.
Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Sunday 13 November 1774
Helped by the Lord through another Sabbath. Had some comfortable liberty in public, and a more peaceful frame of mind than at some times. O that I could serve him more cheerfully, trust him more entirely and feel my whole soul going forth simply to him and for him. I have been long in a poor state of mind, am sometimes willing to hope the Lord will shortly hear my prayers, and revive my spirit. I have learnt by mournful experience, how vile I am, how little I can do, how destitute of wisdom or strength. O for an experience of the pleasing difference which his presence makes.
We had I think a pleasant time at the Great House. I spoke a Hymn No. 5 Vol. 2, On Faith's arguments against fear and complaint. I see how just, right and happy it is to live in continual dependence upon the Lord and submission to his will. I insist much on this topic to others, but alas how faintly am I influenced by it myself. It is however the truth by which I hope to abide. Lord I believe; help thou my unbelief.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Hymn No. 183 [also marked as No. 5 in Vol 2 of ms hymns]

[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, 12/09/2013