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.

Books by John Newton

Other Newton Quotes

4 Responses to “John Newton – Saying vs. Doing”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Grab bag « Words of Grace - November 16, 2011

    […] John Newton, writing his troubled friend William Cowper, notes the hardness of the Christian life — and the grace of Christ:  “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….” [Aside"  I've greatly appreciated the daily quotes from "The Old Guys."  It's always good food for my soul.] […]

  2. John Newton – Saying vs. Doing | Time For Discernment - November 17, 2011

    […] https://theoldguys.org/2011/11/16/john-newton-saying-vs-doing/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in KFD. Bookmark the permalink. ← Evidence From Ancient Critics Let’s All Feel Superior → […]

  3. Reading or saying vs. doing « Strengthened by Grace - November 20, 2011

    […] The Old Guys! GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  4. Learning vs Living « Front Line Reflections - November 25, 2011

    […] read a great passage from John Newton over at The Old Guys the other day.  He was talking about the difference between learning the theory of something and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: