Hymns of the Faith

I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow

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 favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs 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 may’st find thy all in Me.”

Penned by: John Newton
Born: Ju­ly 24, 1725, Lon­don, Eng­land.
Died: De­cem­ber 21, 1807, Lon­don, Eng­land.
Buried: Orig­in­al­ly at St. Ma­ry Wool­noth Church, Lom­bard Street, Lon­don. In 1893, New­ton and his wife Ma­ry were re­in­terred in the south­east cor­ner of the grave­yard at St. Pe­ter and St. Paul’s Church, Ol­ney.

Newton’s mo­ther died when he was sev­en years old. At age 11, with but two years school­ing and on­ly a rud­i­men­tary know­ledge of Latin, John went to sea with his fa­ther. His life at sea was filled with won­der­ful es­capes, viv­id dreams, and a sail­or’s reck­less­ness. He grew into a god­less and aban­doned man. He was once flogged as a de­sert­er from the na­vy, and for 15 months lived, half starved and ill treated, as a slave in Africa.

A chance read­ing of Thom­as à Kemp­is sowed the seed of his con­ver­sion. It was ac­cel­er­at­ed by a night spent steer­ing a wa­ter­logged ship in the face of ap­par­ent death. He was then 23 years old. Over the next six years, dur­ing which he com­mand­ed a slave ship, his faith ma­tured. He spent the next nine years most­ly in Li­ver­pool, stu­dy­ing He­brew and Greek and ming­ling with White­field, Wes­ley, and the Non­con­form­ists. He was even­tu­al­ly or­dained, and be­came cur­ate at Ol­ney, Buck­ing­ham­shire, in 1764. It was at Ol­ney that he formed a life long friend­ship with Wil­liam Cow­per, and pro­duced the Ol­ney Hymns. (information found @ www.cyberhmnal.org)

Christian History Institute has an incredible background history on John Newton. His life is an amazing testimony to the unconditional election of wicked man. You can find his this short biography at Christian History Institute. I will leave you with this…

Newton lived to be eighty-two years old and continued to preach and have an active ministry until beset by fading health in the last two or three years of his life. Even then, Newton never ceased to be amazed by God’s grace and told his friends, “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”

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