In vain I wish’d and strove to hide
The tatter’d, filthy rags I wore;
While my fierce foe insulting cry’d
See what you trusted in before!
Struck dumb, and left without a plea,
I heard my gracious Saviour say,
Know Satan, I this sinner free,
I died to take his sin away.
This is a brand which I, in love,
To save from wrath and sin design!
In vain thy accusations prove;
I answer all, and call him mine.
At his rebuke the tempter fled;
Then he remov’d my filthy dress;
Poor sinner, take this robe, he said,
It is thy Saviour’s rightousness.
And see, a crown of life prepar’d!
That I might thus my head adorn;
I thought no shame or suff’ring hard,
But wore for thee a crown of thorn.
O how I heard these gracious words!
They broke and heal’d my heart at once;
Constrained me to become the Lord’s,
And all my idol-gods renounce.
Now, Satan, thou hast lost thy aim,
Against this brand thy threats are vain;
JESUS has pluck’d it from the flame,
And who shall put it in again?
John Newton (1725 -1807)