It is good to be here
Let me dwell on Golgotha,
Weep and love my life away!
While I see him on the tree,
Weep, and bleed, and die for me!
That dear blood, for sinners spilt,
Shows my sin in all its guilt:
Ah, my soul, he bore thy load,
Thou hast slain the Lamb of God.
Hark! his dying words: "Forgive,
Father, let the sinner live;
Sinner, wipe thy tears away,
I thy ransom freely pay."
While I hear this grace revealed,
And obtain a pardon sealed,
All my soft affections move,
Wakened by the force of love.
Farewell, world, thy gold is dross,
Now I see the bleeding cross;
Jesus died to set me free
From the law, and sin, and thee!
He has dearly bought my soul;
Lord, accept, and claim the whole!
To thy will I all resign,
Now no more my own, but thine.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Wednesday 8 November 1775
Yesterday I read over again, the Narrative of my life formerly published. It revived in my mind O Lord, the remembrance of my vileness and of thy mercies. Strange that I am no more affected with my own story. Oh soften this heart: it is ice, it is rock, without thy gracious influence. I am thine. Help me, save me. Speaking last night on the character of ByendsI was straitened in my views of the subject. I have reason to believe and acknowledge, that without thy continual influence I can do nothing, and that thou dost assist in times and ways when I am least aware. O let me have no byends. Let me always act in a spirit of simplicity and godly sincerity and aim in all things at thy glory.
Friday 10 November 1775
My Lord, help me to praise thee for all thy mercies. From day to day I arise in health and peace, and when we meet in the family we find thou hast been gracious to us all. But ah my soul is sick – a palsy in my head, a fever in my heart, and my imagination wild and vain almost like Phrenzy. The merest trifles drink up my attention, while I trifle with the most serious concerns. O what a nature is this. And O what is the Mercy and Grace that can pardon and save such a wretch. Sin abounds but Grace superabounds, therefore I will rejoice in thy salvation.
Monday 13 November 1775
My dear must now return to Chatham and Sally goes with her. O Lord I commit and commend her to thee.
Friday 24 November 1775
My heart fainted on Tuesday night. My child seemed ill and I was alarmed. I endeavoured to charge my heart to be still before thee, and to commit all to thy care and disposal, but O how weak am I unless thou art pleased to strengthen me… O my Lord I beseech thee to draw me, reveal thy glory and thy grace that I may run after thee with desire and alacrity, laying aside every weight, and easy besetting sin. Impress thy love as a seal upon my heart and my arm, and give me that simplicity, dependence and cheerful resignation, of which I have an idea, as the life, honour and happiness of thy people, but in the experience whereof I have so little attained. Thou givest me the desire, O let it not be the desire of the slothful, but enable me to be persevering, earnest and faithful.
Saturday 25 November 1775
And now hear my prayer for a blessing upon tomorrow. Touch and enlarge my heart, give me a sense of the worth of souls, a dependant spirit, the tongue of the learned, and the influence of thy Holy Spirit, that I may warn the unruly, comfort the feeble minded, and speak the truth in love as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. I feel myself empty and unprovided, but my sufficiency is of thee. Lord remember those who are absent, and let them, and let me have thy presence, and it shall suffice.
Monday 27 November 1775
I praise thee O Lord for a comfortable entrance upon another [week], and help afforded in the services of yesterday. May thy blessing make them useful.
[as for Sunday 26 November]
Hymn No. 225
[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]
[link to see this hymn sung in Newton's London church, St Mary Woolnoth, at his bicentenary, by Todd Murray and the choir of Bible Church, Little Rock, Arkansas]