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The Two Debtors

Full Text

1 Once a woman silent stood
While Jesus sat at meat;
From her eyes she poured a flood,
To wash his sacred feet:
Shame and wonder, joy and love,
All at once possessed her mind,
That she e'er so vile could prove,
Yet now forgiveness find.

2 "How came this vile woman here?
Will Jesus notice such?
Sure, if he a prophet were,
He would disdain her touch!"
Simon thus, with scornful heart,
Slighted one whom Jesus loved,
But her Savior took her part,
And thus his pride reproved.

3 "If two men in debt were bound,
One less, the other more;
Fifty, or five hundred pound,
And both alike were poor;
Should the lender both forgive,
When he saw them both distressed;
Which of them would you believe,
Engaged to love him best?"

4 "Surely he who much did owe,"
The Pharisee replied;
Then our Lord, "By judging so,
Thou dost for her decide:
Simon, if like her you knew,
How much you forgiveness need;
You like her had acted too,
And welcomed me indeed!

5 "When the load of sin is felt,
And much forgiveness known;
Then the heart of course will melt,
Though hard before as stone:
Blame not then, her love and tears,
Greatly she in debt has been:
But I have removed her fears,
And pardoned all her sin."

6 When I read this woman's case,
Her love and humble zeal;
I confess, with shame of face,
My heart is made of steel;
Much has been forgiven to me,
Jesus paid my heavy score,
What a creature must I be,
That I can love no more!

The Christian's duty, exhibited in a series of hymns, 1791

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: Once a woman silent stood
Title: The Two Debtors
Author: John Newton
Language: English

Tune

AMSTERDAM (Foundery Collectin)

For more tune info, see Zahn 7341a or Hymn Tune Index 1648a-d. Note that attributions to James Nares don't appear until after 1820.

Go to tune page >


Timeline

Media

The Cyber Hymnal #11910
  • PDF (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer Score (NWC)
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