Tag Archives: Letters of John Newton

“I believe” by John Newton

“I believe that sin is the most hateful thing in the world: that I and all men are by nature in a state of wrath and depravity, utterly unable to sustain the penalty or to fulfill the commands of God’s holy law; and that we have no sufficiency of ourselves to think a good thought.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the chief among ten thousands; that He came into the world to save the chief of sinners, by making a propitiation for sin by His death, by paying a perfect obedience to the law in our behalf; and that He is now exalted on high, to give repentance and remission of sins to all that believe; and that He ever liveth to make intercession for us.

I believe that the Holy Spirit (the gift of God through Jesus Christ), is the sure and only guide into all truth, and the common privilege of all believers.

And under His influence, I believe the holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, and to furnish us thoroughly for every good work.

I believe that love to God, and to man for God’s sake, is the essence of religion, and the fulfilling of the law; that without holiness no man shall see the Lord; that those who, by a patient course in well-doing, seek glory, honour, and immortality, shall receive eternal life.

And I believe that this reward is not of debt, but of grace, even to the praise and glory of that grace whereby He has made us accepted in the Beloved. Amen.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 21.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Confession, Glory of Christ, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“He is great in little things” by John Newton

“I heartily sympathize with you in your complaints; but I see you in safe hands. The Lord loves you, and will take care of you.

He who raises the dead, can revive your spirits when you are cast down. He who sets bounds to the sea, and says ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further,’ can limit and moderate that gloom which sometimes distresses you.

He knows why He permits you to be thus exercised. I cannot assign the reasons, but I am sure they are worthy of His wisdom and love, and that you will hereafter see and say, He has done all things well.

If I was as wise as your philosopher, I might say a great deal about a melancholy complexion; but I love not to puzzle myself with second causes, while the first cause is at hand, which sufficiently accounts for every phenomenon in a believer’s experience.

Your constitution, your situation, your temper, your distemper, all that is either comfortable or painful in your lot, is of His appointment.

The hairs of your head are all numbered: the same power which produced the planet Jupiter is necessary to the production of a single hair, nor can one of them fall to the ground without His notice, any more than the stars can fall from their orbits.

In providence, no less than in creation, he is Maximus in minimis, ‘Great in little things.’ Therefore fear not; only believe.

Our sea may sometimes be stormy, but we have an infallible Pilot, and shall infallibly gain our port.

I am,

John Newton”

–John Newton, Letter IX – November 27, 1778” in The Works of John Newton, vol. 2, Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 247–248.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, God the Creator, God the Father, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Providence, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Suffering

“The riches of His mercy” by John Newton

“The unchangeableness of the Lord’s love, and the riches of His mercy, are more illustrated by the multiplied pardons He bestows upon His people, than if they needed no forgiveness at all.”

–John Newton, The Works of the John Newton Volume 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 450.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Forgiveness, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Mercy, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“Our guide and our God” by John Newton

“The Redeemer of sinners must be mighty. He must be all-sufficient to bless, and almighty to protect, those who come unto Him for safety and life. Such a one is our Shepherd.

This is He of whom we, through grace, are enabled to say, we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. We are His by every tie and right: He made us, He redeemed us, He reclaimed us from the hand of our enemies.

And we are His by our own voluntary surrender of ourselves; for though we once slighted, despised, and opposed Him, He made us willing in the day of His power.

He knocked at the door of our hearts; but we (at least I) barred and fastened it against Him as much and as long as possible: but when He revealed His love, we could stand out no longer.

Like sheep, we are weak, destitute, defenceless, prone to wander, unable to return, and always surrounded with wolves; but all is made up in the fullness, ability, wisdom, compassion, care, and faithfulness of our great Shepherd.

He guides, protects, feeds, heals, and restores, and will be our guide and our God even until death. Then He will meet us, receive us, and present us unto Himself, and we shall be near Him, and like Him, and with Him forever.”

–John Newton, “Letter XVI – November 5, 1774” in The Works of the John Newton Volume 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 494-495.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Heaven, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, salvation, The Gospel, Union with Christ

“The unshaken ground of hope” by John Newton

“What a privilege is this, to possess God in all things while we have them, and all things in God when they are taken from us.

An acquiescence in the Lord’s will, founded in a persuasion of His wisdom, holiness, sovereignty, and goodness.—This is one of the greatest privileges and brightest ornaments of our profession.

So far as we attain to this, we are secure from disappointment. Our own limited views and short-sighted purposes and desires, may be, and will be, often over-ruled; but then our main and leading desire, that the will of the Lord may be done, must be accomplished.

How highly does it become us, both as creatures and as sinners, to submit to the appointments of our Maker! And how necessary is it to our peace!

This great attainment is too often unthought of, and overlooked: we are prone to fix our attention upon the second causes and immediate instruments of events; forgetting that whatever befalls us is according to His purpose, and therefore must be right and seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be productive of good.

From hence arise impatience, resentment, and secret repinings, which are not only sinful, but tormenting: whereas, if all things are in His hand; if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of His providence and purpose; and if He has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which every thing that happens is subordinate and subservient.

Then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as He leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue. The path of present duty is marked out; and the concerns of the next and every succeeding hour are in His hands.

How happy are they who can resign all to Him, see His hand in every dispensation, and believe that He chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves!

A single eye to His glory should be the ultimate scope of all our undertakings.—The Lord can design nothing short of His own glory, nor should we. The constraining love of Christ has a direct and marvellous tendency, in proportion to the measure of faith, to mortify the corrupt principle Self, which for a season is the grand spring of our conduct, and by which we are too much biased after we know the Lord.

But as grace prevails, self is renounced. We feel that we are not our own, that we are bought with a price; and that it is our duty, our honour, and our happiness, to be the servants of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ:

  • to devote soul and body, every talent, power, and faculty, to the service of His cause and will;
  • to let our light shine (in our several situations) to the praise of His grace;
  • to place our highest joy in the contemplation of His adorable perfections;
  • to rejoice even in tribulations and distresses, in reproaches and infirmities, if thereby the power of Christ may rest upon us, and be magnified in us;
  • to be content, yea glad, to be nothing, that He may be all in all;
  • to obey Him, in opposition to the threats or solicitations of men;
  • to trust Him, though all outward appearances seem against us;
  • to rejoice in Him, though we should (as will sooner or later be the case) have nothing else to rejoice in;
  • to live above the world, and to have our conversation in heaven;
  • to be like the angels, finding our own pleasure in performing His:

—This, my lord, is the prize, the mark of our high calling, to which we are encouraged with a holy ambition continually to aspire. It is true, we shall still fall short; we shall find that, when we would do good, evil will be present with us.

But the attempt is glorious, and shall not be wholly in vain. He that gives us thus to will, will enable us to perform with growing success, and teach us to profit even by our mistakes and imperfections.

O blessed man that thus fears the Lord; that delights in His word, and derives his principles, motives, maxims, and consolations, from that unfailing source of light and strength! He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, whose leaf is always green, and fruit abundant.

The wisdom that is above shall direct his plans, inspire his counsels; and the power of God shall guard him on every side, and prepare his way through every difficulty: he shall see mountains sink into plains, and streams spring up in the dry wilderness.

The Lord’s enemies will be his; and they may be permitted to fight against him, but they shall not prevail, for the Lord is with him to deliver him.

The conduct of such a one, though in a narrow and retired sphere of life, is of more real excellence and importance, than the most splendid actions of kings and conquerors, which fill the annals of history (Prov. 16:32).

And if the God whom he serves is pleased to place him in a more public light, his labours and cares will be amply compensated, by the superior opportunities afforded him of manifesting the power and reality of true religion, and promoting the good of mankind.

I hope I may say, that I desire to be thus entirely given up to the Lord; I am sure I must say, that what I have written is far from being my actual experience. Alas! I might be condemned out of my own mouth, were the Lord strict to mark what is amiss.

But, O the comfort! We are not under the law, but under grace! The Gospel is a dispensation for sinners, and we have an Advocate with the Father. There is the unshaken ground of hope.

A reconciled Father, a prevailing Advocate, a powerful Shepherd, a compassionate Friend, a Saviour who is able and willing to save to the uttermost. He knows our frame; He remembers that we are but dust.

And has opened for us a new and blood-besprinkled way of access to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.”

–John Newton, “Letter VII, September 1772” in The Works of the John Newton Volume 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 455-458.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Holiness, Jesus as Priest, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, salvation, Sanctification, The Gospel, Union with Christ

“Rejoice continually in Jesus” by John Newton

“Blessed be God, though we must feel hourly cause for shame and humiliation for what we are in ourselves, we have cause to rejoice continually in Christ Jesus.

He is revealed unto us under the various names, characters, relations, and offices, which He bears in the Scripture, and He holds out to our faith a balm for every wound, a cordial for every discouragement, and a sufficient answer to every objection which sin or Satan can suggest against our peace.

If we are guilty, He is our Righteousness. If we are sick, He is our infallible Physician. If we are weak, helpless, and defenceless, He is the compassionate and faithful Shepherd who has taken charge of us. And He will not suffer any thing to disappoint our hopes, or to separate us from His love.

He knows our frame, He remembers that we are but dust, and He has engaged to guide us by His counsel, support us by His power, and at length, to receive us to His glory, that we may be with Him for ever.”

–John Newton, “Letter III,” in The Works of the John Newton, Volume 1, Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 439.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Hope, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Union with Christ, Worship

“The Lord reigns” by John Newton

“The spirit of the nation seems like the thoughtless mariner asleep on the top of the mast, regardless of the danger which is increasing every day. Yet still I hope there is mercy.

The gospel spreads– grace reigns– the number of praying souls are upon the increase and their prayers I trust will be heard.

We are sure that the Lord reigns, that the storm is guided by the hands which were nailed to the cross, and that as He loves His own He will take care of them.

But they who have not an ark to hide themselves in will probably weep and wail before the indignation be overpast.

Blessed be God for the prospect of a land of peace where sin and every sorrow will be excluded. There we shall have a day without cloud and without night. The sun shall go down no more, the voice of war shall be heard no more.

The inhabitants shall feel pain no more, shall weep no more, shall go out no more. Then no more unsanctified, and therefore no more unsatisfied desires.

Oh what a state of love, life, and joy when we see Jesus as He is! And by beholding are changed into His image and made according to the utmost capacity of our natures perfectly like Him.

Well it shall, it will come, it approaches nearer every hour.

Love to Mrs. Bull, Tommy, Mr. Fordham, not forgetting Mr. Goode when you see him.

I am your sincere friend and brother, servant and fellow pilgrim,

John Newton
Hoxton, July 26, 1781”

–John Newton, “Letter LV” in Letters of the Rev. John Newton (London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co., 1847), 124-125.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Heaven, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Providence, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, salvation, Sovereignty, The Gospel