Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

September 15

John Newton, 1725–1807
Unto you therefore which believe He is precious. (1 Peter 2:7 KJV)
One of the important activities we need for our spiritual growth and maturity is to spend time daily in quiet meditation and communion with our Lord. Although Bible reading and prayer are absolutely necessary, it is still possible to engage in these pursuits without ever experiencing real communion with Christ Himself. We must learn to say—
Once His gifts I wanted, now the Giver own;
Once I sought for blessing, now Himself alone!
—A. B. Simpson
John Newton has given believers an excellent text for extolling and meditating upon Christ. This worship of our Lord reaches its crescendo in the fourth stanza when Newton lists ten consecutive titles for Jesus: Shepherd, Brother, Friend, Prophet, Priest, King, Lord, Life, Way, End. In the fifth and sixth stanzas, Newton realizes that a Christian’s praise of Christ’s names will always be inadequate until He is finally viewed in heaven. But we must never cease trying.
The story is told of this converted slave ship captain preaching one of his final sermons before his home-going at the age of 82. His eyesight was nearly gone and his memory had become faulty. It was necessary for an assistant to stand in the pulpit to help him with his sermon. One Sunday Newton had twice read the words, “Jesus Christ is precious.” “You have already said that twice,” whispered his helper; “go on.” “I said that twice, and I am going to say it again,” replied Newton. Then the rafters rang as the old preacher shouted, “JESUS CHRIST IS PRECIOUS!”
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast; ’tis manna to the hungry soul and to the weary rest.
Dear name! the Rock on which I build, my Shield and Hiding place, my never failing Treasury filled with boundless stores of grace.
Jesus! my Shepherd, Brother, Friend, my Prophet, Priest and King, my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.
Weak is the effort of my heart, and cold my warmest thought; but when I see Thee as Thou art I’ll praise Thee as I ought.
Till then I would Thy love proclaim with ev’ry fleeting breath; and may the music of Thy name refresh my soul in death.

    For Today: Psalm 8:9; 104:34; Song of Solomon 1:3; Matthew 11:28

Ask this question: “How often do I spend time in worship and adoration of Christ simply for who He is?” Begin now by singing this musical message—

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