Olney Hymns

I’ve often said that I wish sanctification included vocal redemption as well.  Alas, I am proof that it does not.  However, just because I can’t carry a tune doesn’t mean that I don’t love music that honors and glorifies the Lord Jesus.  One of my favorite places to go and find wonderful verse is The Olney Hymn Collection at CCEL.org.

These hymns were written by John Newton and William Cowper in the 18th Century.  They are expressions of Christian devotion and service, and demonstrate the beauty when we seek to build up the Body of Christ by singing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Here’s a text written out of a study from Ezekiel.  It is very fitting for our last few studies.

The Lord proclaims his grace abroad!
Behold, I change your hearts of stone;
Each shall renounce his idol god,
And serve, henceforth, the LORD alone.

My grace, a flowing stream, proceeds
To wash your filthiness away;
Ye shall abhor your former deeds,
And learn my statutes to obey.

My truth the great design insures,
I give myself away to you;
You shall be mine, I will be yours,
Your GOD unalterably true.

Yet not unsought, or unimplored,
The plenteous grace shall I confer;
No—your whole hearts shall seek the Lord,
I’ll put a praying spirit there.

From the first breath of life divine,
Down to the last expiring hour;
The gracious work shall all be mine,
Begun and ended in my pow’r.

– Olney Hymns #71


  1. David Goodwin

    Tue 24th Feb 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Newton gave us such sweet gospel-hymns on sanctification — there’s real hope in our union with Jesus. Thanks for posting this.
    Do you have a LM tune you like for this?

  2. Steve Ward

    Wed 25th Feb 2009 at 8:57 am

    Hi David! Thanks for visiting and posting. Indeed, the union with Christ through faith in the Gospel affords us hope and power!

    I don’t have a certain LM tune for this hymn, so the words kind of default to the tune of “When I Survey” in my mind. It works well for the “My truth the great design insures” verse, but seems a bit damp and drab for the first line.

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