Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 90
Now, Lord, inspire the preacher's heart...
Manuscript Hymn No. Before Sermon: 2
SHORT HYMNS: BEFORE SERMON
Now, Lord, inspire the preacher's heart,
And teach his tongue to speak;
Food to the hungry soul impart,
And cordials to the weak.
Furnish us all with light and powers
To walk in Wisdom's ways;
So shall the benefit be ours,
And thou shalt have the praise.
Thursday 28 January 1779: ‘I finished transcribing the Hymns, only that I have a few short ones to make, suited to the introduction and conclusion of divine worship.’
The last hymn dated in Newton’s diary, No. 334, was written for 1 January 1779, which may also have been the date for No. 335. But judging from their sequence in his ms notebook, some may have been written prior to that, possibly from around November 1778.
With no certainty of dates, some perhaps pertinent quotes:
During this period Newton preached two sermons from 1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. They may have been his prompt for Hymn No. 90.
Sunday 31 January 1779: Favoured with most liberty in the morning. 1 Corinthians 1:30
Sunday 7 February 1779: Closed the week in peace. And had a comfortable entrance upon another, as to externals. But a heart to praise and pray is wanting. I was greatly unsettled and out of frame last night. Thou hearest our prayers, and pitiest our feelings. If thou cause grief for our good, thou showest compassions. Some liberty in the services. May thy blessing crown them. 1 Corinthians 1:30
Also reflected in this hymn is Proverbs 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
On 1 January 1773 Newton preached a New Year’s sermon for the young people from Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the man that heareth me[wisdom], watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
[In the morning he had preached from 1 Chronicles 17, for which he wrote Amazing Grace.]
You that are complying with my text, be of good cheer. He calls you Blessed. You do not follow a cunningly devised fable – the promises are sure. You shall obtain life and favour. Give all diligence. Abstain from evil, avoid bad company, flee youthful lusts which war against the soul, watch, read, hear, pray. Give yourselves anew to the Lord on the entrance of this year, that whether you live or die you may be his. You will find him a present help in trouble, a Sun, a Shield, an exceeding great reward. You shall taste of his love by the way, and the end of life shall be your entrance into everlasting joy. The Lord make this an hour of grace and bring us at last to meet in his glory.
Hymn No. Before Sermon 2
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University
Marylynn Rouse, 12/09/2013