“I hope when this letter comes, it will find you and your’s comfortable, and your heart and mouth full of gratitude to Him who crowneth the year with His goodness.
Well, these returning years each bear away a large portion of our time, and the last year cannot be far off. Oh, that precious name which can enable a sinner to think of his last year and his last hour without dismay!
What do we owe to Him who has disarmed death of its sting and horrors, and shown us the land of light and immortality beyond the grave! May He be with us in the new year.
Yea, He has promised He will be with us, even unto death. Therefore, though we know not what a day may bring forth, we need fear no evil; for He knows all, and will provide accordingly.
Oh, what a relief is it, to be enabled to cast every care and burden upon Him that careth for us!
Though the night should be dark, the storm loud, and the billows high, the infallible Pilot will steer our barks safely through.
Let us help each other with our prayers, that the little uncertain remainder of life may be filled up to the praise of our dear Lord; that we may be united to His will, conformed to His image, and devoted to His service.
Thus we shall show forth His praise: if we aim to walk as He walked, and, by a sweet constraining sense of His love, are formed into a habitual imitation of His spirit and temper, in meekness, integrity, benevolence towards men, and in humility, dependence, resignation, confidence, and gratitude towards Him.
I pity such wise-headed Calvinists as you speak of. I am afraid there are no people who more fully answer the character, and live in the spirit of the Pharisees of old, than some professed loud sticklers for free grace.
They are wise in their own eyes: their notions, which the pride of their hearts tells them are so bright and clear, serve them for a righteousness, and they trust in themselves and despise others.
One modest, inquiring Arminian is worth a thousand such Calvinists in my esteem. You will do well to preach quietly in your own way, not minding what others say, while your own conscience testifies that you preach the truth.
If you are travelling the right road, (to London for instance,) though fifty people should meet you and say you are wrong, you, knowing you are right, need not mind them.
But, alas! The spirit of self, which makes us unwilling to hear of contradiction, is not easily subdued.
I am your’s,
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 6 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 6: 196–197.