Sunday, July 24, 2011

John Newton

John Newton, whose birthday we mark today, was well-known in his own time for his influential collection titled Olney Hymns (named for the parish he led) which led to many congregations taking up the singing of hymns. However, he is much more well-known today as the author of Amazing grace; many people who couldn't name any other hymnwriter know of Newton because of that hymn and the story behind it.

Today's hymn comes from the last pages of Olney Hymns, a section of short hymns labeled After Sermons (though, in fact, in Newton's own church, all his hymns were sung after the sermon as they were specifically written to accompany his preaching). It was originally a general hymn, though in more recent times it has been slightly altered to be used as a wedding hymn, in this manner.

May the grace of Christ our Savior
And our Maker’s boundless love
With the Holy Spirit’s favor,
Rest upon them from above.

Thus may they abide in union
With each other and the Lord,
And possess, in sweet communion,
Joys which earth cannot afford.

John Newton, 1779; alt.
Christian F. Witt, 1715
adapt. Henry J. Gauntlett, 19th cent.

Three Years Ago: John Newton

Two Years Ago:
John Newton

One Year Ago:
John Newton

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