“We are never more safe, never have more reason to expect the Lord’s help, than when we are most sensible that we can do nothing without Him.”
Tag Archives: The Works of John Newton
“I know Jesus died for sinners. I know I am a sinner.
I know He invites them that are ready to perish. I am such a one.
I know, upon His own invitation, I have committed myself to Him.
And I know, by the effects, that He has been with me hitherto, otherwise I should have been an apostate long ago.
And therefore I know that He died for me. For had He been pleased to kill me (as he justly might have done), He would not have shewn me such things as these…
I know that I am a child, because He teaches me to say, ‘Abba, Father.’
I know that I am His, because He has enabled me to choose Him for mine. For such a choice and desire could never have taken place in my heart, if He had not placed it there Himself.
By nature I was too blind to know Him, too proud to trust Him, too obstinate to serve Him, too base-minded to love Him.
The enmity I was filled with against His government, His righteousness, and His grace, was too strong to be subdued by any power but His own.
The love I bear Him is but a faint and feeble spark, but it is an emanation from Himself. He kindled it, and He keeps it alive.
And because it is His work, I trust many waters shall not quench it.”
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 643-644. As quoted in Tony Reinke, Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 235.
“When we pray for increase of faith and grace, and that we may have stronger proofs of our own sincerity, and of the Lord’s faithfulness and care, we do, but in other words, pray for affliction.
He is best known and noticed in the time of trouble, as a present and all-sufficient help. How grand and magnificent is the arch over our heads in a starry night! But if it were always day, the stars could not be seen.
The firmament of Scripture, if I may so speak, is spangled with exceeding great and precious promises, as the sky is with stars, but the value and beauty of many of them are only perceptible to us in the night of affliction…
Oh! For grace to be always ready, always watching, with our loins girded up, and our lamps burning. Then we may cheerfully leave the when, the how, and the where to Him, of whose kind care and attention we have had so many proofs hitherto.
He will be our Guide and our Guard even unto death, and beyond it.
25th September 1797″
–John Newton, “Letter LXXIII” in The Aged Pilgrim’s Thoughts Over Sin and the Grave, Illustrated in a Series of Letters to Walter Taylor, Never Before Published, by the Rev. John Newton (London: Baker and Fletcher, 2nd Ed., 1825), 135-136. As quoted in Tony Reinke, Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 189.
“All shall work together for good: everything is needful that He sends; nothing can be needful that He withholds.”
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 2: 147.
“If I am saved, (I trust I shall) it will be freely and absolutely, in a way of sovereignty; with a notwithstanding to a thousand things which should seem, humanly speaking, to make salvation next door to impossible.
But when I am beaten from every thing else, it still remains true that Christ has died, that He now lives and reigns, that He is able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25), and that He has said, ‘Him that cometh I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37).
In NO WISE and to the UTTERMOST are great words, they have an extensive signification, and take in all varieties of cases, characters, and circumstances. Upon such unlimited sovereign promises, I cast my anchor, and they hold me, otherwise I should be the sport of winds and waves.
Dr. Watts’ motto shall be mine, it is big enough for him, me, you, and for thousands that approve it, ‘In uno Jesu omnia‘ [In Jesus alone is my everything].
In Him I have an offering, an altar, a temple, a priest, a sun, a shield, a saviour, a shepherd, a hiding place, a resting place, food, medicine, riches, honour, wisdom, righteousness, holiness, in short, everything.
The paper would not contain an inventory of the blessings, and treasures, the unsearchable, inexhaustible blessings and treasures which are hidden in Him, and communicated by Him to poor sinners who believe in His name.
But though I am, I trust, an heir, I am as yet a minor, and in my actual experience, am too often more like a servant than a son (Galatians 4:31).
But there is a time appointed of the Father. I hope one day to be of age, and to come to the full enjoyment of my boundless inheritance.”
–John Newton, One Hundred and Twenty-Nine Letters from the Rev. John Newton to Josiah Bull, Ed. William Bull (London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co., 1847), 191-192. This letter was written on February 21, 1784. As quoted in Tony Reinke, Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 228.
“I sometimes think that the prayers of believers afford a stronger proof of a depraved nature, than even the profaneness of those who know not the Lord.
How strange is it, that when I have the fullest convictions that prayer is not only my duty—not only necessary as the appointed means of receiving those supplies, without which I can do nothing, but likewise the greatest honour and privilege to which I can be admitted in the present life,—I should still find myself so unwilling to engage in it.
However, I think it is not prayer itself that I am weary of, but such prayers as mine. How can it be accounted prayer, when the heart is so little affected,—when it is polluted with such a mixture of vile and vain imaginations,—when I hardly know what I say myself—but I feel my mind collected one minute, the next, my thoughts are gone to the ends of the earth.
If what I express with my lips were written down, and the thoughts which at the same time are passing through my heart were likewise written between the lines, the whole taken together would be such an absurd and incoherent jumble—such a medley of inconsistence, that it might pass for the ravings of a lunatic. When Satan points out to me the wildness of this jargon, and asks, ‘Is this a prayer fit to be presented to the holy heart-searching God?’
I am at a loss what to answer, till it is given me to recollect that I am not under the law, but under grace,—that my hope is to be placed, not in my own prayers, but in the righteousness and intercession of Jesus. The poorer and viler I am in myself, so much the more is the power and riches of His grace magnified in my behalf.
Therefore I must, and, the Lord being my helper, I will pray on, and admire his condescension and love, that He can and does take notice of such a creature,—for the event shows, that those prayers which are even displeasing to myself, partial as I am in my own case, are acceptable to Him, how else should they be answered?
And that I am still permitted to come to a throne of grace,—still supported in my walk and in my work, and that mine enemies have not yet prevailed against me, and triumphed over me, affords a full proof that the Lord has heard and has accepted my poor prayers.
Yea, it is possible, that those very prayers of ours of which we are most ashamed, are the most pleasing to the Lord, and for that reason, because we are ashamed of them. When we are favoured with what we call enlargement, we come away tolerably satisfied with ourselves,and think we have done well.”
–John Newton, Twenty-Five Letters Hitherto Unpublished of the Rev. John Newton, Ed. Robert Jones (Edinburgh: J. Johnstone, Hunter Square, 1847), 110-112. As quoted in Tony Reinke, Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 205.
“O! Madam, we want nothing but faith in stronger exercise to make us cheerful and comfortable under all the actual and possible changes of this poor life. Have we not a Saviour, a Shepherd full of compassion and tenderness?
If we wish for love in a friend, He has shewn love unspeakable; —He left His glory, assumed our nature, and submitted to shame, poverty, and death, even the death of the cross, that He might save us from sin and misery, and open the kingdom of heaven to us, who were once His enemies.
For He saw and pitied us, when we knew not how to pity ourselves.
If we need a powerful friend, Jesus is almighty: our help is in Him who made heaven and earth, who raises the dead, and hushes the tempest and raging waves into a calm with a word.
If we need a present friend, a help at hand in the hour of trouble, Jesus is always near, about our path by day, and our bed by night; nearer than the light by which we see, or the air we breathe; nearer than we are to ourselves; so that not a thought, a sigh, or a tear, escapes His notice.
Since then His love and His wisdom are infinite, and He has already done so much for us, shall we not trust Him to the end?
His mercies are countless as the sands, and hereafter we shall see cause to count our trials among our chief mercies.
He sees there is a need-be for them, or we should not have them, and He has promised to make all work together for our final good.
For want of time I am writing by candle-light, which my eyes do not much like; but they submit to it, because I am writing to you; yet they hint that I must now desist.
May the Lord bless you all, with all desirable blessings, temporal and spiritual.
So prays now and often,
Your most affectionate and obliged,
6th December, 1800”
–John Newton, “Letter LXXIII” in The Aged Pilgrim’s Thoughts Over Sin and the Grave, Illustrated in a Series of Letters to Walter Taylor, Never Before Published, by the Rev. John Newton (London: Baker and Fletcher, 2nd Ed., 1825), 169-170.