Friday, February 19, 2016
A Lion, though by nature wild,
The art of man can tame;
He stands before his keeper, mild,
And gentle as a lamb.
He watches, with submissive eye,
The hand that gives him food,
As if he meant to testify
A sense of gratitude.
But man himself, who thus subdues
The fiercest beasts of prey,
A nature more unfeeling shows,
And far more fierce than they.
Alike in vain, of grace that saves,
Or threatening law, he hears;
The savage scorns, blasphemes, and raves,
But neither loves nor fears.
O Savior! how Thy wondrous power
By angels is proclaimed!
When in Thine own appointed hour
They see this lion tamed!
The love Thy bleeding cross displays,
The hardest heart subdues!
Here furious lions, while they gaze,
Their rage and fierceness lose.
Yet we are but renewed in part
The lion still remains;
Lord, drive him wholly from my heart,
Or keep him fast in chains.
From a Letter by John Newton dated June 17, 1778 to the Rev. Mr. B.
My Dear Friend,
.....Last week we had a lion in town. I went to see him. He was wonderfully tame; as familiar with his keeper, as docile and obedient as a spaniel. Yet the man told me he had his surly fits, when they durst not touch him. No looking-glass could express my face more justly than this lion did my heart. I could trace every feature: as wild and fierce by nature; yea much more so: but grace has in some measure tamed me. I know and love my Keeper, and sometimes watch his looks that I may learn his will. But, oh! I have my surly fits too; seasons when I relapse into the savage again, as though I had forgotten all.