Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 56

When the wounded spirit hears...

Manuscript Hymn No. 242

242 v1


Humiliation and praise
(Imitated from the German)

When the wounded spirit hears
The voice of Jesus' blood,
How the message stops the tears
Which else in vain had flowed:
Pardon, grace, and peace proclaimed,
And the sinner called a child;
Then the stubborn heart is tamed,
Renewed, and reconciled.

Oh! 'twas grace indeed, to spare
And save a wretch like me!
Men or angels could not bear
What I have offered thee:
Were thy bolts at their command,
Hell ere now had been my place;
Thou alone couldst silent stand,
And wait to show thy grace.

If in one created mind
The tenderness and love
Of thy saints on earth were joined,
With all the hosts above;
Still that love were weak and poor,
If compared, my Lord, with thine;
Far too scanty to endure
A heart so vile as mine.

Wondrous mercy I have found,
But, ah! how faint my praise!
Must I be a cumber-ground,
Unfruitful all my days?
Do I in thy garden grow,
Yet produce thee only leaves?
Lord, forbid it should he so!
The thought my spirit grieves.

Heavy charges Satan brings
To fill me with distress;
Let me hide beneath thy wings,
And plead thy righteousness:
Lord, to thee for help I call,
'Tis thy promise bids me come;
Tell him thou hast paid for all,
And that shall strike him dumb. [1]

[1] Newton loved to use this quote, perhaps from an Olney lace-maker: 'Trouble not me Satan, I am a weak and sinful woman, but go to Jesus - he shall answer you.'
John Newton bw better 150 x 55
  from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:

Monday 6 May 1776
Dined at Bedford. Mr Oakley there; much conversation and an agreeable afternoon – teach me to profit by all I see. [perhaps one of their German Moravian hymns inspired Netwon's hymn opposite?]
Tuesday 7 May
This morning spoke in the [Barham] family. Had a pleasant ride home and found all well. At the Great House spoke from Pilgrim – character of the Atheist. My spirit straightened, and the meeting rather thin. I thank thee for making Mr Venn comfortable and acceptable on Sunday [5 May]. He preached 3 times on Psalm 72.
Thursday 9 May
Met children. Begun to expound the Gospel of Luke, and had much liberty upon the first four verses. Mr Scott dined and spent the afternoon with me, and stayed church. We had some free conversation, and though he does not see things clearly, I have reason to hope, thou hast begun a good work in his heart, and drawn his desires to thyself. Lord confirm my hope, and teach him, that he may be a blessed instrument of teaching others.
And now what shall I say again? O when shall I be wise? I am weary of this conflict, which so often issues in shameful defeat. O where is the power of that name, to which I have fled for refuge and strength? O Lord hear, O Lord forgive, and grant me victory, that I may not always be the ungrateful, inconsistent creature, I still find myself.
Informed of Mrs Ruck's death, taken off in a few days by a pleurisy at Bath. She used to listen to thy Gospel. O if she felt her need, I doubt not but thou wast with her in her last moments! How frail all things here below! And yet I am stupid as a stone, as if everything were unchangeable.
Psalm 89:16 In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.
Saturday 11 May
Closed a poor week, in health, safety and outward peace. Wonderful is thy goodness to me, I have [not] any cross worthy of the name, but what I make for myself. I am a king's son but lean from day to day. Surrounded with comforts, exempted from outward troubles, yet there is a something that damps my spirit, and prevents my enjoyment of the apparent and distinguished advantages of my lot. Walked this evening – but alas the comfort of my walks is likewise withdrawn. In vain I essay to engage my mind in prayer, my thoughts and time run waste in fruitless musings. Ah Lord how unlike am I before thee, to what many of my fellow creatures think of me.
Sunday 12 May 1776
Thou gavest me something to say, and in the morning from a text which hardly furnished an idea before I began. I believe my people are in the main satisfied with me, but I hear many of them complain of a want of thy power. O let them not be disappointed upon my account. O come and revive us all! The afternoon subject was proposed by my_[dear Polly] just as I was going to church, but I believe I might have managed it better had I taken more time for thought. Sometimes it is otherwise and I can speak off hand as well as [if] I spent many hours in study. But at present I may wonder that I can speak at all. The evening seemed my best opportunity, and we had a full house.
Psalm 45:16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
Hymn No. 242

[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