Not in word, but in power
How soon the Saviour’s gracious call,
Disarmed the rage of bloody Saul! (a)
Jesus, the knowledge of thy name,
Changes the lion to a lamb!
Zaccheus, when he knew the Lord, (b)
What he had gained by wrong, restored;
And of the wealth he prized before,
He gave the half to feed the poor.
The woman who so vile had been, (c)
When brought to weep o'er pardoned sin,
Was from her evil ways estranged,
And showed that grace her heart had changed.
And can we think the power of grace
Is lost, by change of time and place?
Then it was mighty, all allow,
And is it but a notion now?
Can they whom pride and passion sway,
Who mammon and the world obey,
In envy or contention live,
Presume that they indeed believe?
True faith unites to Christ the root,
By him producing holy fruit;
And they who no such fruit can show,
Still on the stock of nature grow.
Lord, let thy word effectual prove,
To work in us obedient love!
And may each one who hears it dread
A name to live, and yet be dead. (d)
(a) Acts 9:6
(b) Luke 19:8
(c) Luke 7:47
(d) Revelation 3:1
Similar Hymns: [relating to this whole section]
Book 1, Hymns 8, 20, 85, 87, 91, 104, 125, 139, 141
Book 2, Hymns 34, 49, 86, 91, 99
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
[Easter] Monday 8 April 1776
Being the Fair Day I kept house till evening, then preached; had a tolerable congregation. Oh that the subject might affect my own heart. Lord what a service was I engaged in, how justly did I deserve the full wages for which I so earnestly laboured. But blessed be thy name for thy free unmerited gifts of pardon and the hope of eternal life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Tuesday 9 April
Forenoon read prayers on account of the Vestry. In the afternoon walked to Hardmead. Preached from Acts 13:23 [Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus] to a small congregation, but most of them I believe seriously disposed. Returned in time for the Great House, spoke farther on the subject of Little Faith. Still O Lord while I am enabled to speak to others, I find my own heart sadly out of frame and unaffected. O that thou wouldst cause me to hear thy gracious voice.
Thursday 11 April
Did not meet the children today. In the evening preached. Began a subject which I went through some years ago. I am still haunted with a temptation which makes me uncomfortable. It is so foolish, and upon the whole so undesirable, that I am a riddle to myself when I find something within me that would give it willing entertainment; but alas I daily have proof that my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. My folly in another respect – so often mourned over and repeated – weakens me still more, and I cannot wonder O Lord that thou standest at a distance, and permitest the enemy to make inroads upon my peace.
Psalm 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.
Friday 12 April
Walked to Yardley after breakfast, and spoke to a few there in the afternoon from Isaiah 48:10. [Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.] [Sally Johnson] went with me – our conversation interesting and I hope will be useful. What an immense field of matter is contained in the workings of the human heart, as it is affected by the occasions and snares of life, the subtlety of Satan, and thy Grace and Wisdom O Lord, counter-working, restraining, managing and overruling the whole. When thou permittest the enemy to gain an advantage over thy poor children, it is in order to draw from it in due time a greater advantage to thy glory and their good. In the mean while how justly dost thou cause [them] to feel and confess, that it is an evil and bitter thing to depart from thee.
Saturday 13 April
This evening thought my heart a little softened, and that I felt a desire of deliverance from those temptations and evils which have long burdened me. O Lord when thou givest heart to pray, thou dost surely incline thine ear to hear. Thou sawest me in secret, O put forth thy power to support me openly, for of myself I can do nothing.
Sunday 14 April
My spirit has been in a worse frame than today, yet I was much straightened and confused in the forenoon, but hope what I said may by thy blessing be useful. In the afternoon had a particular case in view – may it please thee O Lord to make it suitable to more than one. I spoke from experience. I have but too much reason to know the workings of the evil heart, and the wounding effects of sin. In the afternoon Mr Barham came over. We were thinner than usual at the Great House.
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Jeremiah 30:17 For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
Hymn No. 240
[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]