Newton: I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow

I asked the Lord that I might 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 bas been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The bidden evils of my beart;
And let the angry powr’s of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own band He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way,” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

-John Newton

Newton: The Prodigal Son

Afflictions, though they seem severe;
In mercy oft are sent;
They stopped the prodigal’s career,
And forced him to repent.

Although he no relentings felt
Till he had spent his store;
His stubborn heart began to melt
When famine pinched him sore.

“What have I gained by sin,” he said,
“But hunger, shame, and fear;
My father’s house abounds with bread,
While I am starving here.

I’ll go, and tell him all l’ve done,
And fall before his face
Unworthy to be called his son,
I’Il seek a servant’s place.”

His father saw him coming back,
He saw, and ran, and smiled;
And threw his arms around the neck
Of his rebellious child.

“Father, I’ve sinned—but O forgive!”
“I’ve heard enough,” he said,
“Rejoice my house, my son’s alive,
For whom I mourned as dead.

Now let the fatted calf be slain,
And spread the news around;
My son was dead, but lives again,
Was lost, but now is found.”

’Tis thus the Lord his love reveals,
To call poor sinners home;
More than a father’s love he feels,
And welcomes all that come.

-John Newton, The Prodigal Son, Olney Hymns No. 104, Luke 15:11-24, Meter: 8.6.

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

-John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God.
God, whose word cannot be broken,
formed thee for his own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

See, the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
ever flows their thirst to assuage?
Grace, which like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.

Round each habitation hovering,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord in near.
Thus deriving from their banner
light by night and shade by day,
safe they feed upon the manna
which God gives them when on their way.

Savior, since of Zion’s city
I through grace a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in your name.
Fading are the world’s best pleasures,
all its boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasures
none but Zion’s children know.

-John Newton

What Think You of Christ, Is the Test

What think you of Christ? is the test
To try both your state and your scheme;
You cannot be right in the rest,
Unless you think rightly of him;
As Jesus appears in your view,
As he is beloved or not,
So God is disposed to you,
And mercy, or wrath are your lot.

Some take him a creature to be,
A man, or an angel at most:
Sure these have not feelings like me,
Nor know themselves wretched, and lost;
So guilty, so helpless, am I,
I durst not confide in his blood;
Nor on his protection rely,
Unless I were sure he is God.

Some call him a Savior in word,
But mix their own works with their plan;
And hope he his help will afford,
When they have done all that they can;
If sayings prove rather too light,
(A little they own they may fail)
They purpose to make up full weight,
By casting his name in the the scale.

Some style him the pearl of great price,
And say he’s the fountain of joys,
Yet feed upon folly and vice,
And cleave to the world and its toys;
Like Judas, the Savior they kiss,
And while they salute him, betray;
Ah! what will professions like this
Avail in his terrible day.

If ask’d what of Jesus I think,
Although my best thoughts are but poor;
I say he’s my meat and my drink,
My life, and my strength, and my store,
My shepherd, my husband, my friend,
My savior from sin, and from thrall,
My hope from beginning to end,
My portion, my Lord, and my all.

-John Newton, 1802

Sinner, Art Thou Still Secure?

Sinner, art thou still secure?
Wilt thou still refuse to pray?
Can thy heart or hands endure
In the Lord’s avenging day?

See, His mighty arm is bared!
Awful terrors clothe His brow!
For His judgment stand prepared,
Thou must either break or bow.

At His presence nature shakes,
Earth affrighted hastes to flee;
Solid mountains melt like wax,
What will then become of thee?

Who His advent may abide?
You that glory in your shame,
Will you find a place to hide
When the world is wrapped in flame?

Then the rich, the great, the wise,
Trembling, guilty, self condemned;
Must behold the wrathful eyes
Of the Judge they once blasphemed:

Where are now their haughty looks?
O, their horror and despair!
When they see the opened books
And their dreadful sentence hear!

Lord, prepare us by Thy grace,
Soon we must resign our breath,
And our souls be called to pass,
Through the iron gate of death.

Let us now our day improve,
Listen to the Gospel voice;
Seek the things that are above;
Scorn the world’s pretended joys.

-John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

Sin, When Viewed by Scripture Light

Sin, when viewed by scripture light,
Is a horrid, hateful sight;
But when seen in Satan’s glass,
Then it wears a pleasing face.

When the gospel trumpet sounds,
When I think how grace abounds,
When I feel sweet peace within,
Then I’d rather die than sin.

When the cross I view by faith,
Sin is madness, poison, death;
Tempt me not, ’tis all in vain,
Sure I ne’er can yield again.

Satan, for awhile debarred,
When he finds me off my guard,
Puts his glass before my eyes,
Quickly other thoughts arise.

What before excited fears,
Rather pleasing now appears;
If a sin, it seems so small,
Or, perhaps, no sin at all.

Often thus, through sin’s deceit,
Grief, and shame, and loss I meet,
Like a fish, my soul mistook,
Saw the bait, but not the hook.

O my Lord, what shall I say?
How can I presume to pray?
Not a word have I to plead,
Sins, like mine, are black indeed!

Made, by past experience, wise,
Let me learn thy word to prize;
Taught by what I’ve felt before,
Let me Satan’s glass abhor.

-John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

Poor Esau Repented Too Late

Poor Esau repented too late
That once he his birth-right despised;
And sold, for a morsel of meat,
What could not too highly be prized:
How great was his anguish when told,
The blessing he sought to obtain,
Was gone with the birth-right he sold,
And none could recall it again!

He stands as a warning to all,
Wherever the Gospel shall come;
O hasten and yield to the call,
While yet for repentance there’s room!
Your season will quickly be past,
Then hear and obey it today;
Lest when you seek mercy at last,
The Savior should frown you away.

What is it the world can propose?
A morsel of meat at the best!
For this are you willing to lose
A share in the joys of the blest?
Its pleasures will speedily end,
Its favor and praise are but breath;
And what can its profits befriend
Your soul in the moment of death?

If Jesus for these you despise,
And sin to the Savior prefer;
In vain your entreaties and cries,
When summoned to stand at His bar:
How will you His presence abide?
What anguish will torture your heart?
The saints all enthroned by His side,
And you be compelled to depart.

Too often, dear Savior, have I
Preferred some poor trifle to Thee;
How is it Thou dost not deny
The blessing and birth-right to me?
No better than Esau I am,
Though pardon and Heaven be mine;
To me belongs nothing but shame,
The praise and the glory be Thine.

-John Newton, Olney Hymns, 8

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!

-John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow

I asked the Lord that I might 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 hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

-John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779