Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A letter from John Newton

Dear Madam,
     What a poor, uncertain dying world is this!  What a wilderness in itself!  How dark, how desolate, without the light of the gospel and the knowledge of Jesus!.....
     It is a great mercy to be undeceived in time; and though our gay dreams are at an end, and we awake to everything that is disgustful and dismaying, yet we see a highway through the wilderness, a powerful guard, an infallible guide at hand to conduct us through; and we can discern beyond the limits of the wilderness a better land, where we shall be at rest and at home.  What will the difficulties we meet by the way then signify?  The remembrance of them will only remain to heighten our sense of the love, care, and power of our Saviour and leader.  O, how shall we then admire, adore, and praise him, when he shall condescend to unfold to us the beauty, propriety, and harmony of the whole train of his dispensations towards us, and give us a clear retrospect of all the way, and all the turns of our pilgrimage! 
     In the meanwhile, the best method of adorning our profession, and of enjoying peace in our souls, is simply to trust him, and absolutely to commit ourselves and our all to his management.  By casting our burdens upon him, our spirits become light and cheerful; we are freed from a thousand anxieties and inquietudes, which are wearisome to our minds, and which, with respect to events, are needless for us, yea, useless.  But though it may be easy to speak of this trust, and it appears to our judgment perfectly right and reasonable, the actual attainment is a great thing; and especially, so to trust the Lord, not by fits and starts, surrendering one day and retracting the next, but to abide by our surrender, and go habitually trusting through all the changes we meet, knowing that his love, purpose, and promise, are unchangeable.  Some little fainting, perhaps, none are freed from; but I believe a power of trusting the Lord in good measure at all times, and living quietly under the shadow of his wing, is what the promise warrants us to expect, if we seek it by diligent prayer; if not all at once, yet by a gradual increase.  May it be your experience and mine.        
                                                                                                                                          John Newton


From a Letter by John Newton dated July 15, 1777 To the Rev. Dr.-

My Dear Sir,
.....Thus we are apt perversely to reason: he guides and guards me through life; he gives me new mercies, and new proofs of his power and care every day; and therefore when I come to die he will forsake me, and let me be the sport of winds and waves!  Indeed the Lord does not deserve such hard thoughts at our hands as we are prone to form of him.  But notwithstanding we make such returns, he is and will be gracious, and shame us out of our unkind, ungrateful, unbelieving fears at last.  If, after my repeated kind reception at your house, I should always be teasing Mrs.­­­---with suspicions of her good-will, and should tell everybody I saw, that I verily believed, the next time I went to see her she would shut the door in my face and refuse me admittance, would she not be grieved, offended, and affronted?  Would she not think, What reason can he assign for this treatment?  He knows I did every thing in my power to assure him of a welcome, and told him so over and over again.  Does he count me a deceiver?  Yes, he does: I see his friendship is not worth preserving; so farewell.  I will seek friends among such as believe my words and actions.  Well, my dear madam, I am clear I always believed you; I make no doubt but you will treat me kindly next time, as you did the last.  But pray, is not the Lord as worthy of being trusted as yourself; and are not his invitations and promises as hearty and as honest as yours?  Let us therefore beware of giving way to such thoughts of him as we could hardly forgive in our dearest friends, if they should harbour the like of us.
                                                                                                                                            John Newton

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