In evil long I took delight

Representative Text

1 In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear;
'Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.

2 I saw one hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood;
Who fixed his languid eyes on me,
As near his cross I stood.

3 Sure, never to my latest breath
Can I forget that look:
It seemed to charge me with his death,
Though not a word he spoke.

4 My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins his blood had spilt,
And helped to nail him there.

5 Alas I knew not what I did,
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain.

6 A second look he gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I'll die that thou mayest live."

7 Thus, while his death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
(Such is the mystery of grace)
It seals my pardon too.

8 With pleasing grief and mournful joy,
My spirit now is filled,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by him I killed.

Hymns and Spiritual Songs for the use of Christians, 1803

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: In evil long I took delight
Author: John Newton
Language: English


In evil long I took delight. J. Newton. [Looking at the Cross.] Published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. ii., No. 57, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed, "Looking at the Cross." Although not referred to by Josiah Bull in his account of Newton (John Newton, &c, 1868), it seems to be of special autobiographical interest as setting forth the great spiritual change which Newton underwent. In its full form it is rarely found in modern hymnbooks. Two arrangements are in common use (1) "In evil long I took delight," abridged, and (2) “I saw one hanging on a tree." The latter is mainly in American use. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Instances (1 - 3 of 3)

The Baptist Hymnal #294

The Christian Harmony #63B


The Cyber Hymnal #2970

Include 295 pre-1979 instances
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