Looking at the Cross

Representative Text

1 In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object met my sight,
And stopp’d my wild career.

Oh, the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb,
The Lamb on Calvary,
The Lamb that was slain and liveth again
To intercede for me.

2 I saw One hanging on a tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near the cross I stood. [Chorus]

3 Sure never till my latest breath
Can I forget that look,
It seem’d to charge me with His death,
Tho’ not a word He spoke. [Chorus]

4 My conscience felt and owned my guilt,
And plung’d me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there. [Chorus]

5 A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive,
This blood is for thy ransom paid,
I die, that thou may’st live.” [Chorus]

6 Thus, while His death my sins displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too. [Chorus]

Source: Sunday School and Revival: with Y.M.C.A. Supplement #1

Author: John Newton

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 >

Text Information

First Line: In evil long I took delight
Title: Looking at the Cross
Author: John Newton
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


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 314 pre-1979 instances
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