Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 27
The kine unguided went...
Manuscript Hymn No. 268
The milch kine drawing the Ark:
Faith's surrender of all
The kine unguided went
By the directest road;
When the Philistines homeward sent
The ark of Israel's God.
Lowing they passed along,
And left their calves shut up;
They felt an instinct for their young,
But would not turn or stop.
Shall brutes, devoid of thought,
Their Maker's will obey;
And we, who by his grace are taught,
More stubborn prove than they?
He shed his precious blood,
To make us his alone;
If washed in that atoning flood,
We are no more our own.
If he his will reveal,
Let us obey his call;
And think, whate'er the flesh may feel,
His love deserves our all.
We should maintain in view
His glory, as our end;
Too much we cannot bear, or do,
For such a matchless friend.
His saints should stand prepared
In duty's path to run;
Nor count their greatest trials hard,
So that his will be done.
With Jesus for our guide,
The path is safe though rough;
The promise says, "I will provide,"
And faith replies, "Enough!"
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Wednesday 22 January 1777
This evening a letter from Mr Thornton made me thoughtful. He proposes a removal to Hull. If it be thy will make it plain, but O without thy call, leading and blessing, let no charges of creatures make me desirous of quitting my post. I thank thee for a thought in the right season, which I hope will enable me to give a satisfactory answer.
Thursday 23 January 1777
Sent Mr Thornton my view of the proposal, which appears to me not eligible on more accounts than one. The Gospel is there already in plenty – and I think the way is not clearly open, as the incumbent died suddenly, and there was no previous agreement about the presentation, and therefore I conceive nothing can be now done legally. O may thy gracious Spirit influence his mind and mine, that neither of us may do a wrong thing.
Sunday 26 January 1777
My gracious Lord accept my praise for support through another Sabbath. My thoughts were much in confusion all day, in the pre-apprehension of what would be the purport of the letter I expected in the evening. And O how strangely did they work when I received it – I was disappointed, and delivered, pleased and hurt, thought I had done right, and then that I had done wrong. Yet rather confused than uneasy. I committed it to thee, and it seems probable that thou hast overruled to prevent it, in a way I did not expect.
Monday 27 January 1777
Rose early to write to my Dear Friend, and sent the letter off to Newport. O Lord do thou vouchsafe to guide me, for I in myself am ready to be tossed to and from like a feather, as differing thoughts successively arise. I humbly claim thy promise, I cast myself upon thy guidance and care. Do with me as thou wilt, only let me see I am in thy way, and let my conscience be clear and my aim upright to serve thee, and not to seek myself.
Tuesday 28 January 1777
An anxiety upon my mind which I know to be unnecessary and hurtful any farther than it prompts me to commit my cause to thee by prayer. O Lord I am weak and foolish, vouchsafe to strengthen and guide me. Give me faith in thy promise, and may the course I am to take be agreeable to thy will, and help me to wait upon thee for light.
Thursday 30 January 1777
Yesterday went with my Dear to Northampton ... On my return found a letter. By which I find the affair so far as I am concerned in it, remains as at first, and that what I wrote has caused no change of offer. I seem easier than I was – yet my heart palpitates, I fear taking a wrong step, but I cannot if thou vouchsafe to guide me. Preached in the evening as usual. Psalm 94:19 [In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.]
Saturday 1 February 1777
Being the anniversary of Cottingham, we had a meeting in the evening… I was at some difficulty how to speak, some of the people would have been greatly grieved to know there was something of the like kind in agitation, and while things are uncertain I was unwilling to tell them. My gracious Lord, thou knowest I love them, and I am sure many of them love me, and overate me. O let nothing but thy call separate me from them. And if it be thy will to call me hence, do thou satisfy and support us, and reconcile not my will only but their also to thine, and provide a successor by whom may it be thy pleasure to do much more than thou hast done by me.
Sunday 2 February 1777
O my Lord, through what confusion of thought didst thou support me in this day’s service. My heart seemed possessed with anxieties and needless contrivances, till the post came in and brought me no letter. Then I was more settled.
Tuesday 4 February 1777
A weeping day. I mentioned what is in suspense to Mr Perry, and before evening it was a good deal circulated about the town. Our meeting at the Great House was mournful, especially when towards the close I told them plainly there was a probability of my being removed. Lord prepare us all for thy will. It will be trying work to part. But thou canst strengthen me and compose them. Yet if it be thy pleasure to determine for my stay, I hope we should all join to praise thee. I seem at present without choice, and ready to incline to what thou shalt appoint. The ease-loving flesh would plea to stay here. But what are difficulties if I go forth under thy guidance?
Thursday 6 February 1777
The report of my going away seems to make more willing to attend. O my Lord, if this should be overruled for my stay, do thou graciously work by it for a revival. My heart is much affected as I go from house to house among the people. Yet with many I trust another instrument of thy sending, would soon be acceptable and the breech by thy blessing be healed. 1 Kings 8:38,39
Sunday 9 February 1777
I was supported through the day, and in the evening spoke pretty fully to the occasion of the present uneasiness about my removal. I have no reason to wish to go, but may we all be disposed to obey thy will. The matter is still in suspense, or rather I begin to think the long delay an intimation that thou wilt overrule it for my continuance here. Surely of this should be thy will, I can rejoice in it.
Genesis 24:49 [And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.]
Hymn No. 268
[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]
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University
Marylynn Rouse, 29/08/2013