Thursday, January 28, 2016

From a Letter by John Newton dated June, 1773

My Lord,
.....The hour is coming when all impediments shall be removed.  All distinctions shall cease that are founded upon sublunary things, and the earth and all its works shall be burnt up.  Glorious day!  May our souls be filled with the thought, and learn to estimate all things around us now, by the view in which they will appear to us then!  Then it will be of small moment who was the prince, and who was the beggar, in this life; but who in their several situations sought, and loved, and feared, and honoured the Lord.  Alas! how many of the kings of the earth, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, will then say (in vain) to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us!  In this world they are for the most part too busy to regard the commands of God, or too happy to seek his favour; they have their good things here; they please themselves for a while, and in a moment they go down to the grave: in that moment their thoughts perish, their schemes are left unfinished, they are torn from their possessions, and enter upon a new, an untried, an unchangeable, a never-ending state of existence.  Alas! is this all the world can afford!.......
     May the cheering contemplation of the hope set before us support and animate us to improve the interval, and fill us with an holy ambition of shining as lights in the world, to the praise and glory of his grace, who has called us out of darkness!  Encompassed as we are with snares, temptations, and infirmities, it is possible (by his promised assistance) to live in some good measure above the world while we are in it; above the influence of its cares, its smiles, or its frowns.  Our conversation, our citizenship, is in heaven.  We are not at home, but only resident here for a season, to fulfil an appointed service; and the Lord, whom we serve, has encouraged us to hope that he will guide us by his wisdom, strengthen us by his power, and comfort us with the light of his countenance, which is better than life.  Every blessing we receive from him is a token of his favour, and a pledge of that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory which he has reserved for us.  O! to hear him say at last, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!" will be a rich amends for all that we can lose, suffer, or forbear, for his sake.         
                                                                                                                                               John Newton


From a Letter by John Newton to a Mr. B.--May 19, 1775

My Dear Sir,
I hope you will find the Lord present at all times, and in all places.  When it is so, we are at home everywhere; when it is otherwise, home is a prison, and abroad a wilderness.  I know what I ought to desire, and what I do desire.  I point him out to others as the all in all; I esteem him as such in my own judgment; but, alas! my experience abounds with complaints.  He is my sun; but clouds, and sometimes walls, intercept him from my view.  He is my strength; yet I am prone to lean upon reeds.   He is my friend; but on my part there is such coldness and ingratitude, as no other friend could bear.  But still he is gracious, and shames me with his repeated multiplied goodness.  O for a warmer heart, a more simple dependence, a more active zeal, a more sensible deliverance from the effects of this body of sin and death!  He helps me in my endeavours to keep the vine-yards of others; but, alas! my own does not seem to flourish as some do around me.  However, though I cannot say I labour more abundantly than they all, I have reason to say with thankfulness, by the grace of God, I am what I am.  My poor story would soon be much worse, did not he support, restrain, and watch me every minute.  Let me entreat your praises and prayers on the behalf of me and mine; and may the Lord bless you and yours with an increase in every good.                         
                                                                                                                                            John Newton  

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