Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  John 15:5

.....He has mercifully convinced me that I labour under a complication of disorders, summed up in the word sin; he has graciously revealed himself to me as the infallible Physician, and has enabled me to commit myself to him, as such, and to expect my cure from his hand alone.  Yet how often, instead of thank-fully accepting his prescriptions, have I foolishly and presumptuously ventured to prescribe to him, and to point out how I would have him deal with me?  How often have I thought something was necessary, which he saw best to deny, and that I could have done better without those dispensations which his wisdom appointed to work for my good?  He is God, and not man, or else he would have been weary of me, and left me to my own management long ago.  How inconsistent! to acknowledge that I am blind, to entreat him to lead me, and yet to want to choose my own way, in the same breath.  I have limited the Holy One of Israel, and not considered, that he magnifies his wisdom and grace in working by contraries, and bringing good out of seeming evil.  It has cost me something to bring myself to confess that he is wiser than I; but I trust, through his blessing, I have not suffered wholly in vain.  My sensible comforts have not been great; the proofs I have had of the evils of my sinful nature, my incapacity and aversion to good, have neither been few nor small; but by these unpromising means, I hope, he has made his grace and salvation precious to my soul, and in some measure, weaned me from leaning to my own understanding.
     Again, self-righteousness has had a considerable hand in dictating many of my desires for an increase of comfort and spiritual strength.  I have wanted some stock of my own.  I have been wearied of being so perpetually beholden to him, and necessitated to come to him always in the same strain, as a poor, miserable sinner.  I could have liked to have done something for myself in common, and to have depended upon him chiefly upon extraordinary occasions.  I have found, indeed, that I could do nothing without his assistance, nor any thing, even with it, but what I have reason to be ashamed of.  If this had only humbled me, and led me to rejoice in his all-sufficiency, it would have been well.  But it has often had a different effect, to make me sullen, angry, and discontented; as if it was not best and most desirable, that he should have all the glory of his own work, and I should have nothing to boast of, but that in the Lord I have righteousness and strength.  I am now learning to glory only in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me; to be content to be nothing, that he may be all in all.  But I find this a hard lesson; and when I seem to have made some proficiency, a slight turn in my spirit throws me back, and I have to begin all again.....
                                                                                                   From a Letter by John Newton
                                                                                                               on a Believer’s Frames

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