Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20
Words: William Cowper, 1769.
1769. In a letter to Mr. Clunie, in April, Mr. Newton speaks of a journey to Kettering [Northamptonshire], and of his preaching there, and says,I have been pretty full-handed in preaching lately. I trust the Lord was graciously with us in most or all of our opportunities.
We are going to remove our prayer meeting to the great room in the Great House. It is a noble place, with a parlour behind it, and holds one hundred and thirty people conveniently. Pray for us, that the Lord may be in the midst of us there, and that as He has now given us a Rehoboth, and has made room for us, so that He may be pleased to add to our numbers, and make us fruitful in the land.
It was for this occasion that two of the hymns in the Olney Selection were composed, the 43rd and 44th of the second book. The first, beginning ‘O Lord, our languid frames inspire,’ by Mr. Newton; and the second, ‘Jesus, where’er Thy people meet,’ by Mr. Cowper.
J. Bull, John Newton of Olney and St. Mary Woolnoth
Jesus, where’er Thy people meet,
There they behold Thy mercy seat;
Where’er they seek Thee Thou art found,
And every place is hallowed ground.
For Thou, within no walls confined,
Inhabitest the humble mind;
Such ever bring Thee, where they come,
And, going, take Thee to their home.
Dear Shepherd of Thy chosen few,
Thy former mercies here renew;
Here, to our waiting hearts, proclaim
The sweetness of Thy saving name.
Here may we prove the power of prayer
To strengthen faith and sweeten care;
To teach our faint desires to rise,
And bring all Heav’n before our eyes.
Behold at Thy commanding word,
We stretch the curtain and the cord;
Come Thou, and fill this wider space,
And bless us with a large increase.
Lord, we are few, but Thou art near;
Nor short Thine arm, nor deaf Thine ear;
O rend the heavens, come quickly down,
And make a thousand hearts Thine own!