Sunday Hymns from the Past – The Trembling Gaoler by John Newton 


John Newton, writer of Amazing Grace, actually wrote several hundred other hymns. There’s something about his songs, you can see that he was in awe of God and the salvation he received but never deserved. When someone is forgiven much, they have much to be thankful for! 


Just as an aside, did everyone have to be named John? No wonder we call these men by their last names. What’s it like in heaven? Someone shouts ‘hey John’ and three thousand men stand and say ‘yes?’. Surely there were other names to choose from. Am I the only one that gets all the Johns of history confused? Beloved I hope this hymn blesses you, like it blesses me. I pray today that your fellowship was sweet and that you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ! Be good Berean’s, my dear friends, and study to show yourselves approved.

 A believer, free from care,

May in chains or dungeons sing,

(If the Lord be with him there)

And he happier than a king

Paul and Silas thus confined,

Though their backs were torn by whips,

Yet possessing peace of mind,

Sung his praise with joyful lips.

Suddenly the prison shook,

Open flew the iron doors,

And the gaoler, terror-struck,

Now his captives’ help implores:

Trembling at their feet he fell,

“Tell me first, what must I do

To be saved from grief and hell?

None can tell me this but you.”

“Look to Jesus, (they replied)

If on him thou canst believe;

By the death that he has died,

Thou salvation shall receive:”

While the living word he heard,

Faith sprung up within his heart,

And released from all he feared,

In their joy his soul had part.

Sinners, Christ is still the same,

O that you could likewise fear!

Then the mention of his name

Would be music to your ear;

Jesus rescues Satan’s slaves,

His dear wounds still plead, “Forgive!”

Jesus to the utmost saves

Sinners look on him and live.

Author: lnhereford

I am a Christian, wife, mother, podcaster and homeschooler currently traveling the United States with my loving husband and darling daughter!

12 thoughts on “Sunday Hymns from the Past – The Trembling Gaoler by John Newton ”

  1. Thanks, sister! I knew only that Newton composed Amazing Grace and your post prompted me to read a bit more about his interesting life and ministry. Yes, a LOT of John’s back then!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, brother! I’m going to write about his testimony on Wednesday. It’s very encouraging, especially for all of us with lost loved ones we pray for so dearly! Newton went from slave trader to reverend. That’s the true miracle of Gods work in mans heart!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Like you, I sometimes get confused when different people have the same name. I don’t think that will be a problem in Heaven because we will all receive new names.

    “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:17.

    God doesn’t make any two people exactly alike; I am sure he will give us all different names.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that one of the most amazing truths? This is why I love the old hymns, they were filled with scriptural truths. Why God would choose to save a wretch like me I’ll never know, but I’ll be eternally at His feet thanking Him. I can look at myself in the mirror of the Word and see nothing worth redeeming, nothing to boast of in my salvation, He is completely worthy of all glory! We looked on Him, and now we live! Life eternal? My tiny intellect simply can not comprehend it.

      Liked by 2 people

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