Olney Hymns Book 1 Hymn 112

Beside the gospel pool...

Manuscript Hymn No. 190

190 v1

Chapter 5:2-4

The Pool of Bethesda (a)

Beside the gospel pool
Appointed for the poor,
From year to year my helpless soul
Has waited for a cure.

How often have I seen
The healing waters move;
And others, round me, stepping in,
Their efficacy prove?

But my complaints remain;
I feel the very same;
As full of guilt, and fear, and pain,
As when at first I came.

O would the Lord appear
My malady to heal;
He knows how long I’ve languished here,
And what distress I feel.

How often have I thought
Why should I longer lie?
Surely the mercy I have sought
Is not for such as I.

But whither can I go?
There is no other pool
Where streams of sovereign virtue flow
To make a sinner whole.

Here then, from day to day,
I’ll wait, and hope, and try;
Can Jesus hear a sinner pray,
Yet suffer him to die?

No: he is full of grace;
He never will permit
A soul that fain would see his face,
To perish at his feet.

(a) See also Book 3, Hymn 7
John Newton bw better 150 x 55
  from John Newton's Diary, relevant to this hymn:

Tuesday 10 January 1775
Was exceedingly disconcerted this evening when going to and when at the Great House; though there was some specious pretext in the occasion, the real cause was self-will. When I came to speak, my mind was so out of tune that it seemed impossible, but the Lord was pleased to help me from Colossians 2:10 [And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power]. I said something for the use of others, but could neither hear or feel myself – but was all confusion and impatience from first to last accept when speaking.

Saturday 14 January 1775
Brought through another week. A week of mercies. A week filled with the effects of the body of sin and death. Lord pardon the past week, and teach me to live more upon thy fullness of grace, since without thee I can do nothing but evil, and evil mixes with what thou enablest me to do.

Sunday 15 January 1775
Overslept or rather overlaid. My Dear Mary being quite ill through the night disturbed my rest, and made me miss my full time at the Great House. And while I was there, my heart was sadly abroad… I had a little liberty in the morning, more in the afternoon, and evening. What a mercy that my mouth is not utterly stopped. Hymn on the Pool of Bethesda.

Jeremiah 3:22
Romans 11:22
Hymn No. 190

[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