Tuesday, July 7, 2015

John Newton in the 18th C. on a 21st C. problem

I asked the Lord that I may grow
in faith and love and every grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
and seek more earnestly his face.

'Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
and He I trust has answered prayer,
But it has been in such a way
as almost drove me to despair.

I thought that in some favored hours,
at once he'd answer my request,
And by His love's transforming power,
Subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of that He made me feel
the hidden evils of my heart,
And bade the angry powers of hell
assault my soul in every part.

Nay, more, with His hand He seemed 
intent to aggravate my woe,
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
blasted my gourds*, and laid me low.

"Lord, why this?" I trembling cried,
"Wilt Thou pursue this worm to death?"
"This is the way," the Lord replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and faith."

"These inward trials I employ
from sin and self to set thee free,
And cross thy schemes of earthly joy
that thou might find thy all in Me."



John Newton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).

Text Source:
Treasures in Christ by Jean Oathout (7 July 2015).

Image
: "Hymn 36" in A Selection of Favorite Conference Hymns with Historical Sketches of Church History: through every century of the Christian Era, edited by J.A. Burke (Albany, NY: A.N. Sherman, 1829), p.34.

*Alludes to the plant that provided shade in Jonah (4: 6-7, KJV).