Olney Hymns Book 3 Hymn 94
Not to Sinai's dreadful blaze...
Manuscript Hymn No. Before Sermon: 6
SHORT HYMNS: BEFORE SERMON
Not to Sinai's dreadful blaze, (a)
But to Zion's throne of grace,
By a way marked out with blood,
Sinners now approach to God.
Not to hear the fiery law,
But with humble joy to draw
Water, by that well supplied, (b)
Jesus opened when he died.
Lord, there are no streams but thine
Can assuage a thirst like mine;
'Tis a thirst thyself didst give,
Let me therefore drink and live.
(a) Hebrews 12:18,22
For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
(b) Isaiah 12:3
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
Thursday 28 January 1779: ‘I finished transcribing the Hymns, only that I have a few short ones to make, suited to the introduction and conclusion of divine worship.’
The last hymn dated in Newton’s diary, No. 334, was written for 1 January 1779, which may also have been the date for No. 335. But judging from their sequence in his ms notebook, some may have been written prior to that, possibly from around November 1778.
With no certainty of dates, some perhaps pertinent quotes:
Tuesday 2 February 1779
A poor young woman, who had nearly perished in the street last week, has been relived and supported by Mrs Unwin for a few days, till an answer can be obtained from her friends. She was out on Sunday three times – but as she is extremely ignorant, I was desirous she should hear the Gospel message, as suited to her own case. And therefore spoke tonight principally with a view to her from thy gracious words Luke 23:34 [Father forgive them; for they know not what they do]. May thy good Spirit open her heart to receive the truth.
Newton began preaching from Hebrews 12 at the Thursday evening Lectures on 26 November 1778 and reached verse 24 on 29 July 1779: ‘In the evening preached on the Mediator of the New Covenant. O teach me to understand and to prize the peculiar privileges of the Gospel dispensation. Well it is for my soul, that its concerns are in the hands of the Mediator full of power and compassion, unchangeable in purpose, and who has taken our very nature upon himself.’
Concluding a second lecture from the same verse on 5 August 1779 he was able to write: ‘I have now finished a course of sermons [on Hebrews] which I began on Thursday evenings about 18 months ago.’
See also some Hebrews sermons.
Hymn: MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Diary: John Newton Collection, CO199, Princeton University
Marylynn Rouse, 12/09/2013