Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 66
As parched in the barren sands...
Manuscript Hymn No. 312
Trust of the wicked and the righteous compared
As parched in the barren sands,
Beneath a burning sky,
The worthless bramble withering stands,
And only grows to die.
Such is the sinner’s aweful case,
Who makes the world his trust,
And dares his confidence to place
In vanity and dust.
A secret curse destroys his root,
And dries his moisture up;
He lives awhile, but bears no fruit,
Then dies without a hope.
But happy he whose hopes depend
Upon the Lord alone;
The soul that trusts in such a friend,
Can ne’er be overthrown.
Though gourds should wither, cisterns break,
And creature-comforts die;
No change his solid hope can shake,
Or stop his sure supply.
So thrives and blooms the tree whose roots
By constant streams are fed;
Arrayed in green, and rich in fruits,
It rears its branching head.
It thrives though rain should be denied,
And drought around prevail;
’Tis planted by a river’s side,
Whose waters cannot fail.
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Tuesday 19 May 1778
At the Great House helped by thy good Spirit to speak, but a painful dryness upon my own spirit ought to humble me before thee.
Thursday 21 May 1778
Met the children and preached in the evening. A letter from my old friend Mr Moore of Waterford, recalled past things to my mind. We once were intimate – I thought him religious, and he was so in my own way at that time – but not enlightened into the Gospel. Afterwards I found him much more declined into the world. It is near twenty years since I heard of him. He still seems ignorant of thy good way. O that thou wouldst put a word in my way, that the renewal of our correspondence might be for good. Hebrews 11:14,15 [For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.]
Sunday 24 May 1778
In the afternoon I preached with a view to the approaching Confirmation – an institution, which, as generally managed amongst us, is little better than trifling with holy things. But thou canst overrule and make it an occasion of good. I pray thee to prepare the hearts of those who are inclined to go, and give me wisdom and faithfulness to speak to them who apply to me.
In the Great House at night I hope we had a pleasant time; do thou command a blessing and give us the blessing promised to those who put their trust in thee. Hymn No. 312
Hardmead: Romans 3:26
Ecclesiastes 5:2 [Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.]
Hymn No. 312
[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