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354 The Book of Praise,
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear, Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp'd my wild career : I saw One hanging on a Tree,
In agonies and blood, Who fix'd His languid eyes on me,
As near His Cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath
Can I forget that look : It seem'd to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke : My conscience felt and own'd the guilt,
And plunged me in despair; I saw my sins His Blood had spilt,
And help'd to nail Him there.
Alas ! I knew not what I did !
But now my tears are vain : Where shall my trembling soul be hid ?
For I the Lord have slain ! A second look He gave, which said,
" I freely all forgive ; " This Blood is for thy ransom paid ;
" I die, that thou may'st live."
Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue, Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too. With pleasing grief, and mournful joy,
My spirit now is fill'd, That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I kill'd.
John Newton 1779-