Mysterious Grace (Oliver Holden)

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Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-07-18).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 54 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition. The other seven stanzas of Newton's hymn added below, renumbered.
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-07-18).   Score information: 7 x 10 in (landscape), 1 page, 57 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Note shapes added (4-shape). The other seven stanzas of Newton's hymn added below.

General Information

Title: Mysterious Grace
First Line: With pleasing grief and mournful joy
Composer: Oliver Holden
Lyricist: John Newton

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: Sacred   Meter: 86. 86 (C.M.)

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1800 in Plain Psalmody, p. 46

Description: Words by John Newton, 1779, his Hymn 57 of Book 2, in eight stanzas. Holden used the eighth stanza of Newton's hymn in his composition.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

1. In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear;
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.

2. I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood;
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.

3. Sure, never to my latest breath,
Can I forget that look;
I seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.

4. 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


5. 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.

6. A second look He gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid,
I die, that thou may live."

7. Thus, while His death my sin displays,
In all its blackest hue,
(Such is the mystery of grace)
It seals my pardon too.

8.With pleasing grief and mournful joy,
My spirit now is filled;
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I killed.

Looking at the cross by John Newton