Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 100
Martha her love and joy expressed...
Manuscript Hymn No. 318
MARTHA and MARY
Martha her love and joy expressed
By care to entertain her guest;
While Mary sat to hear her Lord,
And could not bear to lose a word.
The principle, in both the same,
Produced in each a different aim;
The one to feast the Lord was led,
The other waited to be fed.
But Mary chose the better part,
Her Saviour’s words refreshed her heart;
While busy Martha angry grew,
And lost her time and temper too.
With warmth she to her sister spoke,
But brought upon herself rebuke:
“One thing is needful, and but one,
Why do thy thoughts on many run?”
How oft are we like Martha vexed,
Encumbered, hurried, and perplexed?
While trifles so engross our thought,
The one thing needful is forgot.
Lord, teach us this one thing to choose,
Which they who gain can never lose;
Sufficient in itself alone,
And needful, were the world our own.
Let grovelling hearts the world admire,
Thy love is all that I require!
Gladly I may the rest resign,
If the one needful thing be mine!
from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:
Sunday 19 July 1778
My Dear and Peggy both so ill, that they were not out all day. O Lord give us submission to thy will, trust in thine mercy, and a sanctified issue to all our trials. Help us to choose and to hold fast the good part – thy cross, and reproach and the afflictions of thy people, that we may suffer, not as the world that knows thee not, but so as to obtain the gracious reward.
Tuesday 21 July 1778
My Dear still very ill – a fever – pain in her breast and head. O Lord give me faith and submission. And give her grace to put her trust in thee, and to pray for a blessing upon the rod. Help us to notice and to praise thee for every alleviating mercy.
Wednesday 22 July 1778
We had a trying night – little or no sleep. How often have we passed the night without disturbance, and rose in the morning with little sense of thy goodness in giving us quiet and refreshing rest! O that we may learn to be more thankful to thee for our mercies.
Thursday 23 July 1778
My Dear very ill today with her head – but I praise thee it is not the terrible disorder she once had. The fever is abated and she continues the medicine. O may it please thee to sanctify and remove her illness. And O that we might from our heart be more earnest for its being sanctified then removed.
Saturday 25 July 1778
A merciful close of the week. My dear much relieved from the fever and pain, though weak. The maid recovered. O my Lord afford thy blessing both to sickness and recovery, or else we suffer in vain. The evening being rainy kept me at home. Finished a hymn for tomorrow, and sought thy gracious presence upon the ordinances.
Sunday 26 July 1778
My Dear ill and restless in the night, though I think rather from weakness and the effect of the medicines. In the morning I prayed that she might be enabled to go out, and thou didst hear. She was present in all the services of the day – weak in the evening, but had a very good night, and is much restored. O for a heart to praise thee. As likewise for liberty in the pleasing employment of the day, especially in the forenoon and evening.
Hymn No. 318
[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