1 Legion was my name, by nature
Satan rag'd within my breast;
Never misery was grater,
Never sinner more possess'd:
Mischievous to all around me,
To myself the greatest foe;
Thus I was when Jesus found me,
Fill'd with madness, sin, and woe.
2 Yet in this forlorn condition
When he came to set me free;
I reply'd to my physician,
"What have I to do with thee?"
But he would not be prevented,
Rescu'd me against my will;
Had he staid 'till I consented,
I had been a captive still.
3 "Satan, tho' thou fain would'st have it,
Know this soul is none of thine;
I have shed my blood to save it,
Now I challenge it for mine;
Tho' it long has thee resembled,
Henceforth it shall me obey;"
Thus he spoke, while Satan trembled,
Gnash'd his teeth, and fled away.
4 Thus my frantic soul he healed,
Bid my sins and sorrows cease;
"Take (said he) my pardon sealed,
I have sav'd thee, go in peace:
Rather take me, Lord to heaven,
Now thy love and grace I know;
Since thou hast my sins forgiven,
Why should I remain below.
5 "Love (he said) will sweeten labours,
Thou hast something yet to do:
Go and tell your friends and neighbours,
What my love has done for you:
Live to manifest my glory;
Wait for heav'n a little space:
Sinners, when they hear thy story,
Will repent and seek my face."
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 >