Tag Archives: The Letters of John Newton

John Newton – Why Weakness?

24 Feb

The Lord permits us to feel our weakness, that we may be sensible of it; for though we are ready in words to confess that we are weak, we do not so properly know it, till that secret, though unallowed, dependence we have upon some strength in ourselves is brought to the trial, and fails us. To be humble, and, like a little child, afraid of taking a step alone, and so conscious of snares and dangers around us, as to cry to him continually to hold us up that we may be safe, is the sure, the infallible, the only secret of walking closely with him.

~John Newton~





John Newton, Richard Cecil, The Works of the John Newton, vol. 1: Two Letters to Mrs. F**** (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 693.

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John Newton – Our Great High Priest

6 Feb

It is a comfortable consideration, that he with whom we have to do, our great High Priest, who once put away our sins by the sacrifice of himself, and now for ever appears in the presence of God for us, is not only possessed of sovereign authority and infinite power, but wears our very nature, and feels and exercises in the highest degree those tendernesses and commiserations, which I conceive are essential to humanity in its perfect state. The whole history of his wonderful life is full of inimitable instances of this kind. His bowels were moved before his arm was exerted: he condescended to mingle tears with mourners, and wept over distresses which he intended to relieve. He is still the same in his exalted state; compassions dwell within his heart. In a way inconceivable to us, but consistent with his supreme dignity and perfection of happiness and glory, he still feels for his people. When Saul persecuted the members upon earth, the Head complained from heaven; and sooner shall the most tender mother sit insensible and inattentive to the cries and wants of her infant, than the Lord Jesus be an unconcerned spectator of his suffering children. No, with the eye, and the ear, and the heart of a friend, he attends to their sorrows; he counts their sighs, puts their tears in his bottle; and when our spirits are overwhelmed within us, he knows our path, and adjusts the time, the measure of our trials, and every thing that is necessary for our present support and seasonable deliverance, with the same unerring wisdom and accuracy as he weighed the mountains in scales and hills in a balance, and meted out the heavens with a span. Still more, besides his benevolent, he has an experimental, sympathy. He knows our sorrows, not merely as he knows all things, but as one who has been in our situation, and who, though without sin himself, endured when upon earth inexpressibly more for us than he will ever lay upon us. He has sanctified poverty, pain, disgrace, temptation, and death, by passing through these states: and in whatever states his people are, they may by faith have fellowship with him in their sufferings, and he will by sympathy and love have fellowship and interest with them in theirs. What then shall we fear, or of what shall we complain; when all our concerns are written upon his heart, and their management, to the very hairs of our head, are under his care and providence; when he pities us more than we can do ourselves, and has engaged his almighty power to sustain and relieve us? However, as he is tender, he is wise also: he loves us, but especially with regard to our best interests. If there were not something in our hearts and our situation that required discipline and medicine, he so delights in our prosperity, that we should never be in heaviness. The innumerable comforts and mercies with which he enriches even those we call darker days, are sufficient proofs that he does not willingly grieve us: but when he sees a need-be for chastisement, he will not withhold it because he loves us; on the contrary, that is the very reason why he afflicts. He will put his silver into the fire to purify it; but he sits by the furnace as a refiner, to direct the process, and to secure the end he has in view, that we may neither suffer too much nor suffer in vain.

~John Newton~





John Newton and Richard Cecil, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 2: Letter IV to Mrs. **** (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824) p. 20-21.

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John Newton – The Fight to Pray

7 Nov

It would be easy to make out a long list of particulars, which a believer would do if he could, but in which, from first to last, he finds a mortifying inability…

He would willingly enjoy God in prayer. He knows that prayer is his duty; but, in his judgment he considers it likewise as his greatest honor and privilege. In this light he can recommend it to others, and can tell them of the wonderful condescension of the great God, who humbles himself to behold the things that are in heaven, that He should stoop so much lower, to afford his gracious ear to the supplications of the sinful worms upon earth. He can bid them expect a pleasure in waiting upon the Lord, different in kind and greater in degree than all that the world can afford. By prayer he can say, You have liberty to cast all your cares upon him that careth for you. By one hour’s intimate access to the throne of grace, where the Lord causes his glory to pass before the soul that seeks him, you may acquire more true spiritual knowledge and comfort, than by a day or a week’s converse with the best of men, or the most studious perusal of many folios. And in this light he would consider it and improve it for himself. But, alas; how seldom can he do as he would! How often does he find this privilege a mere task, which he would be glad of a just excuse to omit! and the chief pleasure he derives from the performance, is to think that his task is finished: he has been drawing near to God with his lips, while his heart was far from him. Surely this is not doing as he would when (to borrow the expression of an old woman here,) he is dragged before God like a slave, and comes away like a thief.

~John Newton~





The Letters of John Newton – To Lord Dartmouth (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 89-90.

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John Newton – News of a Better World

9 Jul

Blessed be God for the news of a better world, where there will be no sin, change, nor defect for ever. And let us praise him, likewise, that He has appointed means of grace and seasons for refreshment here below, for a throne of grace, a precious Bible, and returning ordinances: these are valuable privileges; and so they appear to us when our hearts are in a lively frame. Then everything appears little and worthless, in comparison of communion with God. Oh, for a coal of fire from the heavenly altar to warm our frozen spirits! Oh, for a taste of love and glimpses of glory, that we might mount up as with eagle’s wings! Let us pray for each other.

~John Newton~





The Letters of John Newton – To Captain Clunie (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 62-63.

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John Newton – Friendship is from God

5 Jul

The Lord gives us a dear friend to our comfort; but ere long we forget that the friend is only the channel of conveyance, and that all the comfort is from Himself.

~John Newton~





The Letters of John Newton – To Mrs. Wilberforce (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 77.

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John Newton – Draw From the Secret Well

2 Jul

Secret prayer, and the good word, are the chief wells from whence we draw the water of salvation.

~John Newton~









The Letters of John Newton – To Mrs. Wilberforce (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 79.

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John Newton – Affliction: Bringer of Blessing?

28 Jun

We are usually indebted to affliction as the means or occasion of the most signal discoveries we are favored with of the wisdom, power, and faithfulness of the Lord.

~John Newton~





The Letters of John Newton – To Mrs. Wilberforce (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 82.

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John Newton – God Can Use Anyone

28 Dec

Though we can but lisp a little word about the Lord’s goodness, yet when He is pleased to be near us, his presence and blessing can work by the meanest instrument, and cause our hearts to burn within us.

~John Newton~





The Letters of John Newton – To Miss Medhurst (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 46.

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John Newton – Saying vs. Doing

16 Nov

The Christian calling, like many others, is easy and clear in theory, but not without much care and difficulty to be reduced to practice. Things appear quite otherwise, when felt experimentally, to what they do, when only read in a book. Many learn the art of navigation (as it is called), by the fire-side at home; but when they come to sea, with their heads full of rules, and without experience, they find that the art is only to be thoroughly learnt upon the spot. So, to renounce self, to live upon Jesus, to walk with God, to overcome the world, to hope against hope, to trust the Lord when we cannot trace him, and to know that our duty and privilege consist in these things, may be readily acknowledged or quickly learned; but, upon repeated trial, we find that saying and doing are two things. We think at setting out that we sit down and count the cost; but alas! our views are so superficial at first, that we have occasion to correct our estimate daily. For every day shows us some new thing in the heart, or some new turn in the management of the war against us which we were not aware of; and upon these accounts, discouragements may arise so high as to bring us (I speak for myself) to the very point of throwing down our arms, and making either a tame surrender or a shameful flight. Thus it would be with us at last, if the Lord of hosts were not on our side…. But if He is the Captain of our salvation, if his eye is upon us, his arm stretched out around us, and his ear open to our cry, and if He has engaged to teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight, and to cover our heads in the day of battle, then we need not fear, though a host rise up against us; but, lifting up our banner in his name, let us go forth conquering and to conquer; Rom. 16:20.

~John Newton~



The Letters of John Newton – To William Cowper, Esq. (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 153.

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John Newton – Invincible Grace

11 Nov

II. Do I think that God, in the ordinary course of his providence, grants this assistance in an irresistible manner, or effects faith and conversion without the sinner’s own hearty consent and concurrence? I rather chose to term grace invincible than irresistible. For it is too often resisted even by those who believe; but, because it is invincible, it triumphs over all resistance when He is pleased to bestow it. For the rest, I believe no sinner is converted without his own hearty will and concurrence. But he is not willing till he is made so. Why does he at all refuse? Because he is insensible of his state; because he knows not the evil of sin, the strictness of the law, the majesty of God whom he has offended, nor the total apostasy of his heart; because he is blind to eternity, and ignorant of the excellency of Christ; because he is comparatively whole, and sees not his need of this great Physician; because he relies upon his own wisdom, power, and supposed righteousness. Now in this state of things, when God comes with a purpose of mercy, he begins by convincing the person of sin, judgment, and righteousness, causes him to feel and know that he is a lost, condemned, helpless creature, and then discovers to him the necessity, sufficiency, and willingness of Christ to save them that are ready to perish, without money or price, without doings or deservings.

~John Newton~



The Letters of John Newton – To the Rev. Thomas Scott (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 264.

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