John Newton wrote hundreds if not thousands of poems. During his tenure pastoring in rural Olney, England, he compiled many of his own compositions and those of William Cowper into a collection known as The Olney Hymns. He wanted them to reflect the great themes and truths of Scripture in the common tongue of his people, and sung so as to be memorable.
Part of his endeavor included writing poems on almost every book and/or major event or theme in the Bible. The one I read last night struck me both because of its familiarity, its context, and additional content.
Newton wrote but one poem in regard to the book of 1 Chronicles; The theme of which Newton picks out as God’s abiding and amazing grace toward His People, and especially through the Davidic kingship and line. Hence we have the strains of – Amazing Grace.
Note especially the last two verses. New to me, and sweet as sweet can be. They need to be resurrected and sung once more.
AMAZING grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
2 ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ’d!
3 Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
4 The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures:
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
5 Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.
6 The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be for ever mine.
John Newton and Richard Cecil, The Works of John Newton, vol. 3 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 353.