“Though we can fall of ourselves, we cannot rise without the Lord’s help. Indeed, every sin, in its own nature, has a tendency towards a final apostasy.
But there is a provision in the covenant of grace, and the Lord, in His own time, returns to convince, humble, pardon, comfort, and renew the soul. He touches the rock, and the waters flow.
By repeated experiments and exercises of this sort (for this wisdom is seldom acquired by one or a few lessons), we begin at length to learn that we are nothing, we have nothing, we can do nothing but sin. And thus we are gradually prepared to live more out of ourselves, and to derive all our sufficiency of every kind from Jesus, the fountain of grace.
We learn to tread more warily, to trust less to our own strength; to have lower thoughts of ourselves, and higher thoughts of Him: in which two last particulars, I apprehend what the Scripture means by a growth of grace does properly consist.
Both are increasing in the lively Christian;—every day shews him more of his own heart, and more of the power, sufficiency, compassion, and grace of His adorable Redeemer; but neither will be complete till we get to heaven.”
–John Newton, “Cardiphonia” in The Works of John Newton, Volume 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 1: 430–431.