Thursday, June 14, 2007

The two debtors

The two debtors. Lk 7:47

Once a woman silent stood
While JESUS sat at meat;
From her eyes she poured a flood
To wash his sacred feet
Shame and wonder, joy and love;
All at once possessed her mind:
That she e'er so vile could prove,
Yet now forgiveness find.

"How came this vile woman here,
Will JESUS notice such?
Sure, if he a prophet were,
He would disdain her touch!"
Simon thus, with scornful heart,
Slighted one whom JESUS loved;
But her Savior took her part,
And thus his pride reproved.

"If two men in debt were bound,
One less, the other more;
Fifty, or five hundred pound,
And both alike were poor;
Should the lender both forgive,
When he saw them both distressed;
Which of them would you believe
Engaged to love him best?"

"Surely he who most did owe,"
The Pharisee replied;
Then our LORD, by judging so,
"Thou dost for her decide:
Simon if like her you knew
How much you forgiveness need;
You like her had acted too,
And welcomed me indeed!"

"When the load of sin is felt,
And much forgiveness known;
Then the heart of course will melt,
Though hard before as stone:
Blame not then her love and tears,
Greatly she in debt has been;
But I have removed her fears,
And pardoned all her sin."

When I read this woman's case,
Her love and humble zeal;
I confess, with shame of face,
My heart is made of steel,
Much has been forgiv'n to me,
JESUS paid my heavy score;
What a creature must I be
That I can love no more!

John Newton (1725-1807) - Olney Hymns, 1779.
Copied from Song to the Lamb listserve January 4, 2007


J. Guy Muse said...

I am the proud owner of a Facsimile of the Original OLNEY HYMNS which I purchased in Olney at the church where John Newton ministered. This is the original hymnal that he and William Cooper put together and where all subsequent hymnals got, "Amazing Grace", "God Moves In A Mysterious Way", "How Tedious and Tasteless The Hours", "There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood" and many others still being sung today!

R. L. Vaughn said...

Guy, now you're trying to make me jealous!

Seriously, a lot of folks don't know Newton beyond "Amazing Grace" (which truly is a great hymn). Though John Newton is not as fluid and poetic as Watts, Wesley and Cowper, he has a lot of good hymns based on passages of Scriptures.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Which was all to say (I didn't finish) that I really appreciate many of Newton's less known hymns.