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Poem by John Newton


The Two Debtors


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 Saviour 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! 



John Newton


John Newton's other poems:
  1. The Disciples at Sea
  2. The Hiding Place
  3. Zion, or the City of God
  4. Praise for the Incarnation
  5. But One Loaf


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