As most people know, John Newton, the infidel slave trader turned tender pastor, wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”. But that wasn’t all. While pastor at Olney, Newton wrote many other hymns, which are also full of rich material for the soul’s meditation. Sin’s Deceit was first published around 1779. It deals with what it means to battle sin and for holiness.
Consider these passages:
“…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)
“Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings death.” (James 1:14-15)
Consider some sin you regularly battle.
And sing. You can sing it to “Jesus Lover of My Soul” (better) or “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” (if sung slowly).
Sin, when viewed by scripture light,
Is a horrid, hateful sight;
But when seen in Satan’s glass,
Then it wears a pleasing face.
When the gospel trumpet sounds,
When I think how grace abounds,
When I feel sweet peace within,
Then I’d rather die than sin.
When the cross I view by faith,
Sin is madness, poison, death;
Tempt me not, ‘tis all in vain,
Sure I ne’er can yield again.
Satan, for awhile debarred,
When he finds me off my guard,
Puts his glass before my eyes,
Quickly other thoughts arise.
What before excited fears,
Rather pleasing now appears;
If a sin, it seems so small,
Or, perhaps, no sin at all.
Often thus, through sin’s deceit,
Grief, and shame, and loss I meet,
Like a fish, my soul mistook,
Saw the bait, but not the hook.
O my Lord, what shall I say?
How can I presume to pray?
Not a word have I to plead,
Sins, like mine, are black indeed!
Made, by past experience, wise,
Let me learn thy word to prize;
Taught by what I’ve felt before,
Let me Satan’s glass abhor.