How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds

Full Text

1 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer's ear!
It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds,
and drives away our fear.

2 It makes the wounded spirit whole
and calms the troubled breast;
'tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest.

3 O Jesus, shepherd, guardian, friend,
my Prophet, Priest, and King,
my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
accept the praise I bring.

4 How weak the effort of my heart,
how cold my warmest thought;
but when I see you as you are,
I'll praise you as I ought.

5 Till then I would your love proclaim
with every fleeting breath;
and may the music of your name
refresh my soul in death.

Psalter Hymnal, 1987

Author: John Newton

Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years' schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds In a believer's ear
Title: How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds
Author: John Newton (1774)
Meter: 8.6.8.6
Language: English
Liturgical Use: Songs of Response

Notes

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Acts 4:12, Jer.30:17, Rom. 10:13, Joel 2:32, 1 John 4:18, Ps.147:3
st. 2 = John 16:20, John 6:31-33, Matt. 11:28
st. 3 = John 10:11, John 15:13-14, John 4:19, John 14:6, Heb.4:14, Rev. 17:14

With the heading “The Name of Jesus,” this text by John Newton (PHH 462) was pub1ished in the Olney Hymns (1779), where it was part of a group of hymns inspired by scriptural passages. The text is a fine example of Newton's evangelical piety and his skill at incorporating biblical phrases or allusions into his hymn texts. Of his original seven stanzas, 1, 2, and 5-7 are included.

Newton said that Song of Songs 1:3 ("your name is like perfume poured out") was the inspiration for this text: stanzas 1 and 2 compare perfume, with its sweet fragrance and healing properties, to the name of Jesus, which "soothes" and "heals." With its many biblical names for the Savior, stanza 3 evokes a variety of images about the person and ministry of Christ. The final stanzas confess that though our worship of Christ may be weak and imperfect, we will use our resources to praise him and testify to his love.

Liturgical Use:
Many occasions of worship, probably after the sermon as a hymn of testimony and encouragement.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987

Tune

ST. PETER (Reinagle)

Composed by Alexander R. Reinagle (b. Brighton, Sussex, England, 1799; d. Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England, 1877), ST. PETER was published as a setting for Psalm 118 in Reinagle's Psalm Tunes for the Voice and Pianoforte (c. 1836). The tune first appeared with Newton's text in Hymns Ancient and Mode…

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