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Hymn 98

John Newton


The two debtors.

Lk 7:47

Once a woman silent stood

While JESUS sat at meat;

From her eyes she poured a flood

To wash his sacred feet

Shame and wonder, joy and love;

All at once possessed her mind:

That she e’er so vile could prove,

Yet now forgiveness find.

“How came this vile woman here,

Will JESUS notice such?

Sure, if he a prophet were,

He would disdain her touch!”


Simon thus, with scornful heart,

Slighted one whom JESUS loved;

But her Savior took her part,

And thus his pride reproved.

“If two men in debt were bound,

One less, the other more;

Fifty, or five hundred pound,

And both alike were poor;

Should the lender both forgive,

When he saw them both distressed;

Which of them would you believe

Engaged to love him best?”

“Surely he who most did owe,”

The Pharisee replied;

Then our LORD, by judging so,

“Thou dost for her decide:

Simon if like her you knew

How much you forgiveness need;

You like her had acted too,

And welcomed me indeed!

When the load of sin is felt,

And much forgiveness known;

Then the heart of course will melt,

Though hard before as stone:

Blame not then her love and tears,

Greatly she in debt has been;

But I have removed her fears,

And pardoned all her sin.”

When I read this woman’s case,

Her love and humble zeal;

I confess, with shame of face,

My heart is made of steel,


Much has been forgiv’n to me,

JESUS paid my heavy score;

What a creature must I be

That I can love no more!

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