Scripture Verse

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. Galatians 4:19

Introduction

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John Newton
1725–1807

Words: John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 2, num­ber 26. Tra­vel­ing in birth for souls.

Music: Ar­thur’s Seat John Goss, Hymns and Songs of Praise (New York: 1874) (🔊 pdf nwc).

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John Goss
1800–1880
National Portrait Gallery

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Lyrics

What con­tra­dict­ions meet
In min­is­ters’ em­ploy!
It is a bit­ter sweet,
A sor­row full of joy:
No oth­er post af­fords a place
For eq­ual hon­or, or dis­grace!

Who can des­cribe the pain
Which faith­ful preach­ers feel;
Constrained to speak, in vain,
To hearts as hard as steel?
Or who can tell the plea­sures felt,
When stub­born hearts be­gin to melt?

The Sav­ior’s dy­ing love,
The soul’s amaz­ing worth;
Their ut­most ef­forts move,
And draw their bow­els forth:
They pray and strive, their rest de­parts,
Till Christ be formed in sin­ners’ hearts.

If some small hope ap­pear,
They still are not con­tent;
But, with a jea­lous fear,
They watch for the event:
Too oft they find their hopes de­ceived,
Then, how their in­most souls are grieved!

But when their pains suc­ceed,
And from the ten­der blade
The rip­en­ing ears pro­ceed,
Their toils are ov­er­paid:
No har­vest joy can eq­ual theirs,
To find the fruit of all their cares.

On what has now been sown
Thy bless­ing, Lord, be­stow;
The pow­er is Thine alone,
To make it spring and grow:
Do Thou the gra­cious har­vest raise,
And Thou, alone, shalt have the praise.