1 A believer, free from care,
May in chains or dungeons sing,
(If the Lord be with him there)
And he happier than a king
Paul and Silas thus confined,
Though their backs were torn by whips,
Yet possessing peace of mind,
Sung his praise with joyful lips.
2 Suddenly the prison shook,
Open flew the iron doors,
And the gaoler, terror-struck,
Now his captives' help implores:
Trembling at their feet he fell,
"Tell me first, what must I do
To be saved from grief and hell?
None can tell me this but you."
3 "Look to Jesus, (they replied)
If on him thou canst believe;
By the death that he has died,
Thou salvation shall receive:"
While the living word he heard,
Faith sprung up within his heart,
And released from all he feared,
In their joy his soul had part.
4 Sinners, Christ is still the same,
O that you could likewise fear!
Then the mention of his name
Would be music to your ear;
Jesus rescues Satan's slaves,
His dear wounds still plead, "Forgive!"
Jesus to the utmost saves
Sinners look on him and live.
Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians, 1803
John Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. His licentious and tumultuous sailing life included a flogging for attempted desertion from the Royal Navy and captivity by a slave trader in West Africa. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. Several factors contributed to Newton's conversion: a near-drowning in 1748, the piety of his friend Mary Catlett, (whom he married in 1750), and his reading of Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. After becoming a tide… Go to person page >