Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Power of Grace

Happy the birth where grace presides,
To form the future life!
In wisdom’s path the soul she guides,
Remote from noise and strife.

Since I have known the Saviour’s name,
And what for me He bore;
No more I toil for empty fame,
I thirst for gold no more.

Placed by His hand in this retreat,
I make His love my theme;
And see that all the world calls great,
Is but a waking dream.

Since He has rank’d my worthless name
Amongst his favour’d few,
Let the mad world who scoff at them,
Revile and hate me too.

O Thou, whose voice the dead can raise,
And soften hearts of stone,
And teach the dumb to sing Thy praise,
This work is all Thine own!

Thy wondering saints rejoice to see
A wretch like me restored;
And point, and say, “How changed is he
Who once defied the Lord!”

Grace bid me live, and taught my tongue
To aim at notes divine;
And grace accepts my feeble song—
The glory, Lord, be Thine!
                                           John Newton

From a letter by John Newton to a Miss P---- dated August 17, 1767

.....It is storied of Pompey, that when his friends would have dissuaded him from putting to sea in a storm, he answered, "It is necessary for me to sail, but it is not necessary for me to live!"  O pompous speech in Pompey's sense!  He was full of the idea of his own importance, and would rather have died than have taken a step beneath his supposed dignity.  But it may be accommodated with propriety to a believer's case.  It becomes us to say, It is not necessary for me to be rich, or what the world accounts wise; to be healthy, or admired by fellow-worms; to pass through life in a state of prosperity and outward comfort;—these things may be, or they may be otherwise, as the Lord in his wisdom shall appoint; but it is necessary for me to be humble and spiritual, to seek communion with God, to adorn my profession of the gospel, and to yield submissively to his disposal, in whatever way, whether of service or suffering, he shall be pleased to call me to glorify him in the world.  It is not necessary for me to live long, but highly expedient that whilst I do live I should live to him.  Here, then, I would bound my desires; and here, having his word both for my rule and my warrant, I am secured from asking amiss.  Let me have his presence and his Spirit, wisdom to know my calling, and opportunities and faithfulness to improve them; and as to the rest, Lord, help me to say,  "What thou wilt, when thou wilt, and how thou wilt."
                                                                                                                                               John Newton

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