Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 54
Saved by blood I live to tell...
Manuscript Hymn No. 222
Hear what he has done for my soul!
Saved by blood, I live to tell
What the love of Christ hath done;
He redeemed my soul from hell,
Of a rebel made a son:
Oh I tremble still, to think
How secure I lived in sin;
Sporting on destruction's brink,
Yet preserved from falling in.
In his own appointed hour,
To my heart the Saviour spoke;
Touched me by his Spirit's power,
And my dangerous slumber broke.
Then I saw and owned my guilt,
Soon my gracious Lord replied:
"Fear not, I my blood have spilt,
'Twas for such as thee I died."
Shame and wonder, joy and love,
All at once possessed my heart;
Can I hope thy grace to prove,
After acting such a part?
"Thou hast greatly sinned," he said,
"But I freely all forgive;
I myself thy debt have paid,
Now I bid thee rise and live."
Come, my fellow-sinners, try,
Jesus’ heart is full of love!
Oh that you, as well as I,
May his wondrous mercy prove!
He has sent me to declare,
All is ready, all is free;
Why should any soul despair,
When he saved a wretch like me?
[Listen to Todd Murray sing this track here - scroll down for This rebel made a son]
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Monday 30 October 1775
I would thank thee for the liberty of yesterday; command a blessing upon what was thine, and pardon what was mine. O that my heart might continually meditate upon that good matter I was then speaking of. [Psalm 45:1 My heart is inditing a good matter]
I hear that my friend [John] Ryland [snr], has been near to imprisonment for meddling with politics. I thank thee that he has escaped. And O that he and I and all thy ministers might be so filled with the importance of the one thing needful, as to have no leisure to amuse ourselves or our hearers with what does not properly concern us. We have indeed cause enough of complaint but it is against sin, which is the source of all calamites. Let us strive indeed for liberty, but for that liberty with which thou canst make thy people free.
Alas, my Lord, how long shall I be a sport to my enemies. O for thine own sake, humble, pardon and strengthen me, and help in thy name and might to overcome these foul temptations. I have to beg thy blessing upon my exposition of the Pilgrim’s Progress, which after a long intermission I returned to last night. I am now returned from the Great House, where I heard prayers suited to the occasion; my judgement gave an Amen, but my heart was cold. I call upon others to mourn over the sins of the times, and am not affected myself. War abroad, discord at home, divisions among thine own people. Thy hand lifted up, yet few that will see it. What must the end be! O soften my spirit, and let me feel as I ought.
Monday 6 November
Thou hearest and answerest prayer. Thou didst lead us out in peace, and bring us home in safety. Thou gavest me much pleasure in visiting my Northampton friends whom I love for thy sake. And thou gavest me liberty in preaching, and acceptance with the hearers. Though I had little opportunity and but little heart for waiting upon thee in secret. I hope it was joy to me, to find thy people lively in their souls and affectionate and peaceful among themselves, and to see the young ones in the school seeking thy salvation.
To John Thornton: ‘[I] preached every morning and every night but one, in Mrs Trinder’s house. Our morning meetings were rather private, only a few particular friends beside the family which consists of more than 50 – but in the evenings we were sufficient crowded.’
[texts included:] Deuteronomy 6:20-23 […We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand… that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.]
The great trials of thy servant [Robert] Hall, especially with his wife’s terrible malady, should excite my sympathy. Lord support him, relieve her, and succeed my wish to serve him as I can. And O help me to admire thy goodness to myself. Why is not such a case mine? Have not I deserved to forfeit my comforts, or to have bitter water instead of sweet, though the stream should still flow.
I brought a cold and hoarseness home with me, but thy goodness strengthened and helped me through the service of yesterday. I spoke from hand to mouth and had still something to say. Surely this is of thee, for how often do I keenly feel that I have not sufficiency of myself to think a good thought. Ah what a proof of it at the sacrament. O could my heart be seen at such a time, who would think that I knew anything of thy love and salvation! Yet thou seest it. Thou seest all my vileness. And yet thou permittest me to say, I am thine, save me [Psalm 119:94]. The evening was not unpleasant; the Hymn I spoke from described my own case – a miracle, of mercy. But Lord, how many have been more struck with my case, than I seem to be myself. Yet weak, worthless, faint and cold as I am, I would be thine, I rejoice to be thine, and once more I devote and surrender myself to Thee.
Psalm 45:2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
Psalm 60:11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.
Hymn No. 222
[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