A Captive Still[?!] (Newton)

 I’ve been studying a couple of the stories in the Gospels where Jesus powerfully casts out demons with a mighty word.  Since I was a little boy I’ve loved these stories since I know that the realm of darkness is real and it’s terrifying.  I’m so thankful that Jesus is a million times stronger than Satan and all the demons put together.  Here’s part of a hymn John Newton wrote based on Mark 5:18-19 (the story of “Legion”).  Although Newton wrote it from the perspective of the man with the “Legion”, I can’t help but think this hymn is also somewhat autobiographical.  (Note: “staid” means stood still or waited.)  Go ahead and read it out loud:

“Legion was my name by nature,
Satan raged within my breast;
Never misery was greater,
Never sinner more possessed:
Mischievous to all around me,
To myself the greatest foe;
Thus I was when Jesus found me,
Filled with madness, sin, and woe.

Yet in this forlorn condition
When he came to set me free,
I replied to my Physician,
‘What have I to do with Thee?’
But he would not be prevented,
Rescued me against my will;
Had he staid till I consented,
I would be a captive still.”

Later in the hymn, Newton does mention how Jesus changed the man’s heart to obey him, tell others about him, and live for his glory.  It is true that while we were sinners and enemies of God, he loved us, gave his Son for us, and changed our hearts to make us willing and ready from now on to live for him.  God be praised: sovereign grace can change the hearts of those who are enemies and haters of God and make them into loved and loving friends of God!

John Newton, Works, vol. 3, p. 408.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

1 thought on “A Captive Still[?!] (Newton)”

  1. Christ will call those He chose from the beginning of time. He will heal those, as well. I ask humbly that I will be among those whom He wished to join Him in everlasting glory of His fellowship.

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