Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 48
That man no guard or weapons needs...
Manuscript Hymn No. 238
My presence shall go with thee
[Partly imitated from Horace Lib 1 Ode 22]
[The believer's safety]
That man no guard or weapons needs,
Whose heart the blood of Jesus knows;
But safe may pass, if duty leads,
Through burning sands or mountain snows.
Released from guilt, he feels no fear;
Redemption is his shield and tower;
He sees his Saviour always near
To help in every trying hour.
Though I am weak and Satan strong,
And often to assault me tries;
When Jesus is my shield and song,
Abashed the wolf before me flies.
His love possessing I am blest,
Secure whatever change may come:
Whether I go to East or West,
With him I still shall be at home.
If placed beneath the northern pole,
Though winter reigns with rigour there;
His gracious beams would cheer my soul,
And make a spring throughout the year.
Or if the desert's sun-burnt soil,
My lonely dwelling e’er should prove;
His presence would support my toil,
Whose smile is life, whose voice is love.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Tuesday 26 March 1776
My gracious Lord I look to thee for pardon and pity. I am vile, and I am weak. But thy mercies are infinite. I feel a dryness and reluctance in every part of my private walk. Walked in the forenoon to Weston. At the Great House, on the case of Little Faith, and the assault and robbery he met with.
Wednesday 27 March 1776
Much of my experience seems expressed in those words, I sought him but I found him not [Song of Solomon 3:1,2]. In a sense I do seek thee O Lord but alas how faintly – and how seldom do I find thee. I know I am supported by thee, and that thou art very near, and yet to the report of sense and feeling thou art distant, and therefore my whole frame and spirit languishes. This afternoon I went to Lavendon alone, but alas the pleasure of my solitary walks is greatly abated; I am dull then as at other times. Preached in the evening to about a hundred from Psalm 145:19 [He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.] Thy good hand brought me safely home.
Thursday 28 March 1776
Met the children in the morning and in the evening preached. Thou hast taught me O Lord to prefer thy house and service, and thou hast given me my choice. One thing thou didst enable me to desire and thou hast granted it – taken me put out of the busy world, and put me into the Ministry, to wait at thy sanctuary, and to serve in thy family. I bless thee, that I still rejoice in the appointment, and account it preferable to the highest secular distinctions. O were my heart more suitable to my pest [?]. Were I more faithful, earnest and by thy blessing more successful, then I might rejoice indeed. [lecture:] Psalm 84:10 [For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.]
Sunday 31 March 1776
1 Timothy 1:15
Hymn No. 238
[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, 10/09/2013