Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 38

If to Jesus for relief...

Manuscript Hymn No. 199

199 v1


Questions to unbelief

If to Jesus for relief
My soul has fled by prayer,
Why should I give way to grief,
Or heart-consuming care?
Are not all things in his hand?
Has he not his promise past?
Will he then regardless stand,
And let me sink at last?

While I know his providence
Disposes each event,
Shall I judge by feeble sense,
And yield to discontent?
If he worms and sparrows feed,
Clothe the grass in rich array, (a)
Can he see a child in need,
And turn his eye away?

When his name was quite unknown,
And sin my life employed,
Then he watched me as his own,
Or I had been destroyed:
Now his mercy-seat I know,
Now by grace am reconciled;
Would he spare me while a foe, (b)
To leave me when a child?

If he all my wants supplied
When I disdained to pray,
Now his Spirit is my guide,
How can he say me nay?
If he would not give me up
When my soul against him fought,
Will he disappoint the hope
Which he himself has wrought?

If he shed his precious blood
To bring me to his fold,
Can I think that meaner good (c)
He ever will withhold?
Satan, vain is thy device!
Here my hope rests well-assured,
In that great redemption-price
I see the whole secured.

(a) Matthew 6:26-30
(b) Romans 5:10
(c) Romans 8:32
John Newton bw better 150 x 55
  from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:

Thursday 2 March 1775
Wrote several letters relative to a journey into Leicestershire which I had purposed next Tuesday – but was prevented sending them, by finding some tokens of a distemper which will require the whole family to be put under a course of Physic, and will defer my intended tour another week at least.
Tuesday 7 March
This whole week much out of our usual course – using medicines etc; I have little more to record than that on Tuesday [7th March] at the Great House I spoke from Nehemiah 8:10 [...for the joy of the Lord is your strength] and preached on Thursday, but did not meet the children.  On Saturday evening, we were all busy till late, and I had but leisure or spirit, for closing the week in the manner I usually endeavour.  However, I see and I hope feel, that this has been a week of mercy.  Wrote letters fixing my time for being at Leicester to Wednesday next, but on Saturday wrote again, and postponed it till Friday.  The good Lord to whom all things are known, grant that we may go at the best time.
Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
Sunday 12 March
The Lord strengthened me for this day’s service.  I am helped to speak, but seldom favoured now with those heartfelt enlargements in public, which I have often known.  I trust I deliver the truth, and I believe with apparent earnestness, but there is a something wanting.  O the Lord in many respects stands at a distance from me, while in others he shows himself near.  Hymn No. 199.
2 Samuel 23:2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Hymn No. 199

[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