Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 93

Could the creatures help or ease us...

Manuscript Hymn No. 253

253 v1

Chapter 5:39-42

The Ruler’s Daughter raised

Could the creatures help or ease us,
Seldom should we think of prayer;
Few, if any, come to Jesus,
Till reduced to self-despair:
Long we either slight or doubt him,
But when all the means we try
Prove we cannot do without him,
Then at last to him we cry.

Thus the ruler when his daughter
Suffered much, though Christ was nigh,
Still deferred it, till he thought her
At the very point to die:
Though he mourned for her condition,
He did not entreat the Lord,
Till he found that no physician
But himself could help afford.

Jesus did not once upbraid him,
That he had no sooner come;
But a gracious answer made him,
And went straitway with him home:
Yet his faith was put to trial
When his servants came, and said,
“Though he gave thee no denial,
’Tis too late, the child is dead.”

Jesus, to prevent his grieving,
Kindly spoke and eased his pain;
“Be not fearful, but believing,
Thou shalt see her live again:”
When he found the people weeping,
“Cease,” he said, “no longer mourn;
For she is not dead, but sleeping,”
Then they laughed him to scorn.

O thou meek and lowly Saviour,
How determined is thy love!
Not this rude unkind behaviour,
Could thy gracious purpose move:
Soon as he the room had entered,
Spoke, and took her by the hand;
Death at once his prey surrendered,
And she lived at his command.

Fear not then, distressed believer,
Venture on his mighty name;
He is able to deliver,
And his love is still the same:
Can his pity or his power
Suffer thee to pray in vain?
Wait but his appointed hour,
And thy suit thou shalt obtain.

John Newton bw better 150 x 55
  from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:

Tuesday 13 August 1776
My dear friends returned home this morning. The visit was pleasant, though frequently something from within or without interposes to lessen the satisfaction we are apt to promise ourselves. This time the weather was unfavourable, prevented walking, and there were other abatements, but chief was in the frame of my mind. My Lord I praise thee for this connection which I trust has been and will be productive of mutual good. Thy providence formed it, may thy blessing enliven, sanctify and perpetuate it. I see much to admire and imitate in my friend – enable me to follow him where he follows thee. A visit from Mr Griegson – his trial is great indeed. The son of his hopes and devoted to the Ministry, distracted. He desires my prayer. Lord help me to pray for him, and to praise thee for myself and mine, that we are preserved in our right minds. At the Great House concluded the account of Ignorance. My Dear indisposed. But I praise thee, a disorder which might have been terrible, is happily turned, and I hope she is better.

Thursday 15 August 1776
Met the children, and in the evening preached with some view to Mrs Griegson, and Mr Old. Indeed sermons on the subject of affliction and submission to the will of God are in general demand, and always seasonable. Do thou, my Gracious Lord make them useful. [lecture:] 1 Samuel 15:25, 26

Saturday 17 August 1776
Brought safely to the close of another week by thy providence, and preserved by thy restraining grace, from innumerable evils to which my vile heart, if left to itself, would certainly carry me. My Dear was sick but is now well and all my family. For these and all thy mercies and my heart means thy praise, but alas, how faintly! What shall I say? My spirit is still in fetters, set it free for thy mercy’s sake. Help me so to seek thee this evening that I may find thee, and wrestle for a blessing on tomorrow. Could I pray, I should be well. O unlock and soften my heart, nothing can soften it but the beams of thy love.

Sunday 18 August 1776
Thou wert pleased O Lord to enable me to speak today, but my spirit was embarrassed, and I seemed too often as if performing a task. How pleasant is preaching when the heart prompts the tongue to speak, and we draw out of a full fountain. It is not always so with me, indeed I may praise and admire, if it is ever so. Justly mightest thou permit my gifts to dry up, and refuse me any sensible exercise of grace. Heard good news of our dear [adopted] child [Betsy], for which I desire to praise thee. O that she may be thine. Bless the instructions she receives, the preaching she hears and the examples before her eyes, and give her to seek and to know thee while she is yet a child.

1 Corinthians 15:10
Exodus 20:5,6
Hymn No. 253

[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]

Image copyright:

Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University

Marylynn Rouse, 10/09/2013