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Tea Party Winners: Carla Gade's winner is Becky Dempsey, Andrea Boeshaar's winner Caryl Kane, Gina Welborn's winner Jasmine A., Carrie Fancett Pagels' winners book copy -- Lynda Edwards, teacup and saucer -- Wendy Shoults

Sunday, July 28, 2013

ANOTHER “AMAZING” HYMN

ANOTHER “AMAZING” HYMN

John Newton is probably best known for being the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”. However, this Anglican Clergyman, and once prosperous slave trader, also authored many more hymns including “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” considered one of his finest.

John Newton was the son of an English shipmaster. After a few years of boarding school and going to sea with his father, he was conscripted into the British Royal Navy. When he attempted desertion, he was reduced in rank to a common seaman and was transferred to a slave ship headed to West Africa.

In 1748 his father sent a sea captain to rescue him from West Africa. It was during the return voyage to England that John experienced a religious conversion after reading Thomas à Kempis and being on board a ship that nearly sank. He began reading the Bible and by the time his ship reached port, he had accepted Christ and was transformed, repenting his sinful habits and renouncing his role in the African slave business. He eventually became an advocate of the abolition of slavery.

John Newton
(In the public domain)
He gave his life to God and returned to England in 1750, and married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Catlett. In 1755 he became renowned as an evangelical lay minister. For the next two years he studied to be ordained as an Anglican priest, but was initially denied. He applied to other denominations as well but met with the same results. In 1764 he finally became an Anglican priest at Olney, Buckinghamshire where he would spend the next sixteen years as the rector at Olney. It was while he was there that he collaborated with the English poet William Cowper on a number of hymns. His desire was to teach his illiterate congregation spiritual songs they could memorize and sing as they went about their daily tasks.  In 1779 these hymns were published as "Olney's Hymns". Among them was "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”.

In 1779 he became the rector of Saint Mary Woolnoth Church in London, England, and served there twenty-eight years until his death at the age of 82. In 1788 he spoke against the slave trade and apologized for his participation. He became a supporter and friend to William Wilberforce, the leader of the Parliamentary campaign to abolish slavery. After the death of his wife in 1790, he began to suffer poor health and failing eyesight. John Newton died in London and was originally buried next to his wife in the Saint Mary Woolnoth Church cemetery. However, due to the extension of the London Underground rapid transit system in 1893, their remains were re-interred in Saint Peter and Paul Church cemetery.

Newton himself wrote his own epitaph:


JOHN NEWTON  Clerk
ONCE AN INFIDEL AND LIBERTINE
A SERVANT OF SLAVES IN AFRICA WAS
BY THE RICH MERCY OF OUR
LORD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST
PRESERVED, RESTORED, PARDONED
AND APPOINTED TO PREACH THE FAITH HE
HAD LONG LABOURED TO DESTROY
NEAR 16 YEARS AS CURATE OF THIS PARISH
AND 28 YEARS AS RECTOR OF St MARY WOOLNOTH

Scripture references for “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”
 Exodus 13:21-22, 16:16,   Isaiah 33:20-21,   Psalms 87:3,   John 10:35,   Matthew 16:18

GLORIOUS THINGS OF THEE ARE SPOKEN

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed thee for his own abode;
on the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
thou may'st smile at all thy foes.

See! the streams of living waters,
spring form eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters
and all fear of want remove.
Who can faint, when such a river
ever flows their thirst to assuage?
Grace which, like the Lord, the Giver,
never fails from age to age.

Round each habitation hovering,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord is near.
Thus they march, their pillar leading,
light by night, and shade by day;
daily on the manna feeding
which he gives them when they pray.

Blest inhabitants of Zion,
washed in the Redeemer's blood!
Jesus, whom their souls rely on,
makes them kings and priests to God.
'Tis his love his people raises
over self to reign as kings:
and as priests, his solemn praises
each for a thank-offering brings.

Savior, if of Zion's city,
I through grace a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy Name.
Fading is the worldling's pleasure,
all his boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasure
none but Zion's children know.

Words: John Newton, 1779     Tune: “Austrian Hymn” composed by Franz Joseph Hayden

Franz Joseph Hayden, the composer of the hymn was an eighteenth century Austrian who wrote music for numerous symphonies, operas, masses and chamber music. He was also a devout Christian.


To listen to the melody:  http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/g/g051.html

8 comments:

  1. Love that hymn !
    Linda Finn
    faithfulacres7@gmail.com

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  2. Lovely hymn! I love the idea of teaching people about Christ and worship through song. That is one reason I don’t care for modern day worship music all that much. I know there are some great modern stuff out there, but so much of it doesn’t actually say anything substantial and certainly doesn’t teach us anything. I love songs that actually tells us about Christ and what He has done for us!

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  3. Thank you, Linda and Emma, for stopping by.

    I love praise music as well as the hymns. It seems that many hymns have the longevity that so many, even wonderful, praise songs don't share.

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  4. Wonderful post, Janet. I enjoyed reading about Newton. Love the story about how God got ahold of him and his conversion and repentance.

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  5. Wonderful post, Janet! Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken is one of my favorite hymns! And Emma, I agree with you. The old hymns were written to teach theology and doctrine through excellent poetry and music that would stay in your mind and heart, and so much of today's praise music doesn't teach anything of depth. So often it's self centered instead of God centered. What a wealth of music we're losing in the church today!

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  6. Thanks for this reminder of a man redeemed by the Grace of God and how he served. Such a beautiful and wondrous hymn. I knew John Newton's story but had forgotten that he wrote this hymn as well as Amazing Grace.

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  7. I'm glad you enjoyed the post Carrie, Joan and Vera.
    This is a beautiful hymn and while I'm not a good singer, I love the way the melody flows in it. And yes, it really communicates the gospel.Newton is such a good reminder that God is merciful and gracious and can use any of us.

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  8. I love all the stories behind hymns. Thank you for this great post!

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