Tuesday, 21 February 2012

John Newton

I recently came across this hymn by Newton. It is one of his lesser known and to me one of his most powerful.

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace,
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favoured hour
At once He’d answer my request;
And, by His love’s constraining power,
Subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea, more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe,
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

“Lord, why is this?” I trembling cried,
“Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?”
“’Tis in this way”, the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.

“These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set thee free,
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou mayest seek thy all in Me.”

John Newton, 1725 – 1807.
(Author of the Hymn, “Amazing Grace”)

I am sure most folk who read this page know the story of John Newton. He was born in 1725 and his mother died when he was just six. At the age of eleven he went to sea and very soon was working on a slave ship. This occupation he did for the next twenty years, eventually becoming a master of slave ships. The story of his life from slave trader to abolitionist to Anglican priest, writer and hymnist has been well documented. I would encourage you to read the story and sing his hymns. He was a man who knew what it was to be lost and then found, to be blind and then to see.

The words in the hymn above do not make for an easy read. In it Newton writes of his inward struggles with God and describes the afflictions of his soul. I feel that it perfectly illustrates the scripture that says "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12 and it is cited also in Hebrews 12.

Being a follower of Christ is not easy for He “answers prayer for grace and faith” by leading us down paths we would rather not go; sometimes extremely painful and sometimes with much sorrow, but we know that ultimately it leads to Glory.

2 Cor 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


animal lover, quilt lover said...

A very thought provoking post today!!! I will read it again and again, thank you Carolyn.

Carolyn said...

You’re welcome, Fern :)

K9 Katastrophie said...

What a beautiful blog and thanks for your encouragement on my blog. It feels sometimes like the homosexual agenda is winning and so your encouragement is very refreshing! Right now I go to Texas A&M and have found the anti Christian agenda to be prevalent there. Next semster I will be going to a Christian college called HBU.

Jesus bless you!

Kim (Ruthie's mom)

Gattina said...

Very interesting, I must admit I didn't know him.

Sherlock the cat said...