Back in 2010 we posted the lyrics to John Newton’s hymn In Evil Long I Took Delight. At the time, I referenced a modern adaptation of this classic hymn by Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Music. However, the links provided in our old post no longer work, so I thought I’d post this hymn again this year.
First, the modern adaptation of Newton’s hymn by Bob Kauflin.
I saw one hanging on a tree
In agony and blood
Who fixed His loving eyes on me
As near His cross I stood
And never till my dying breath
Will I forget that look
It seemed to charge me with His death
Though not a word He spoke
My conscience felt and owned the guilt
And plunged me in despair
I saw my sins His blood had spilt
And helped to nail Him there
But with a second look He said
“I freely all forgive
This blood is for your ransom paid
I died that you might live”
Forever etched upon my mind
Is the look of Him who died
The Lamb I crucified
And now my life will sing the praise
Of pure atoning grace
That looked on me and gladly took my place
Thus while His death my sin displays
For all the world to view
Such is the mystery of grace
It seals my pardon too
With pleasing grief and mournful joy
My spirit now is filled
That I should such a life destroy
Yet live by Him I killed
© 2001 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).
Now, as to John Newton’s original hymn, it is nearly impossible to find any recording of it (with sung lyrics) online or at iTunes. With some deep digging in Google, however, I found a free download (which I thoroughly scanned for viruses!) of a very nice recording accompanied by acoustic guitar. I enjoyed hearing John Newton’s lyrics brought to life with a tune that’s simple and singable.
UPDATE: I kept searching online and I’ve now been able to identify the artist who recorded the version of Newton’s hymn I’ve posted below. It’s a singer / songwriter from Indiana maned Phil Kirk. The track is available on Soundcloud, as are other hymns by this artist.
(should the audio file not display or play properly, try this link)
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.
I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.
Sure, never till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.
My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped 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 mayst 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 is now filled;
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by him I killed.
– John Newton
Finally, here is some good background on John Newton and his hymn.