Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 88

Lord, what is man! extremes how wide...

Manuscript Hymn No. 291

291 v1


Man, by nature, grace and glory

Lord, what is man! extremes how wide,
In this mysterious nature join!
The flesh, to worms and dust allied,
The soul, immortal and divine!    

Divine at first, a holy flame
Kindled by the Almighty's breath;
Till, stained by sin, it soon became
The seat of darkness, strife, and death.

But Jesus, Oh! amazing grace!
Assumed our nature as his own,
Obeyed and suffered in our place,
Then took it with him to his throne.

Now what is man, when grace reveals
The virtue of a Saviour's blood?
Again a life divine he feels,
Despises earth, and walks with God.

And what in yonder realms above,
Is ransomed man ordained to be?
With honour, holiness, and love,
No seraph more adorned than he.

Nearest the throne, and first in song,
Man shall his hallelujahs raise;
While wondering angels round him throng,
And swell the chorus of his praise.

Similar Hymns: [relating to this whole section]
Book 1, Hymns 57, 58, 59, 79, 80
Book 2, Hymns 37, 38, 39, 41, 42

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

Tuesday 16 December 1777
O! the flight of time, and alas what a poor account can I give of mine. Though I seem not to be idle, I know not when I have seemed more in hurry or to less effect than of late. O my Lord, my hope is founded on thy grace – did I look to anything else, I should sink into despair. Expected a struggle with the Ringers, but thou gavest a peaceful and a quiet issue. And in the evening, I had a very comfortable opportunity and good liberty of speech from 1 Peter 2:24, for which I desire to praise thy Name.
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Thursday 18 December
Met the children. Had very few girls. I am come with them to Luke 13 and spoke from verse 23 to 30. Luke 13:23-30 23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
There will now be an intermission of 3 weeks. Lord help me now to look up for thy direction and influence upon the approaching services, and give me a concern for the youth. Filling up a book of Sermon Notes which I purpose sending to Mrs [Thornton], chiefly those on Revelation 19, but I have transcribed some others into the vacant pages. Preached in the evening – very few people present.
Isaiah 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
Sunday 21 December
O my Lord, grant a blessing upon the services of this day. Thou gavest me liberty to speak especially in the morning, make the word seasonable and useful. In the afternoon I was more straightened, but had freedom at night. Sin against light abounds, and rages in proportion to the restraints it has broken through; we are now frequently alarmed with house robberies, and I believe some of at home from worship, especially in the evening, because they are afraid of leaving their houses. O my Lord shall thy blessed Gospel be a savour of death to the most who hear it in this town? It must be so except thou art pleased to pour forth by quickening Spirit and favour us with new conversions.
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Hymn No. 291

[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, 12/09/2013