Tag Archives: The Letters of John Newton

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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John Newton – The Inexhaustible Theme of Redeeming Love

26 Oct

And now, how shall I fill up the rest of my paper? It is a shame for a Christian and a minister to say he has no subject at hand, when the inexhaustible theme of redeeming love is ever pressing upon our attention. I will tell you then, though you know it, that the Lord reigns.

He who once bore our sins, and carried our sorrows, is seated upon a throne of glory, and exercises all power in heaven and on earth. Thrones, principalities, and powers, bow before him. Every event in the kingdoms of providence and of grace is under his rule. His providence pervades and manages the whole, and is as minutely attentive to every part, as if there were only that single object in his view. From the tallest archangel to the meanest ant or fly, all depend on him for their being, their preservation, and their powers. He directs the sparrows where to build their nests, and to find their food. He overrules the rise and fall of nations, and bends, with an invincible energy and unerring wisdom, all events; so that, while many intend nothing less, in the issue, their designs all concur and coincide in the accomplishment of his holy will. He restrains with a mighty hand the still more formidable efforts of the powers of darkness; and Satan, with all his hosts, cannot exert their malice a hair’s breadth beyond the limits of his permission.

This is He who is the head and husband of his believing people. How happy are they who it is his good pleasure to bless! How safe are they whom He has engaged to protect! How honoured and privileged are they to whom He is pleased to manifest himself, and whom He enables and warrants to claim him as their friend and their portion! Having redeemed them by his own blood, He sets a high value upon them; He esteems them his treasure, his jewels, and keeps them as the pupil of his eye. They shall not want; they need not fear; his eye is upon them in every situation, his ear is open to their prayers, and his everlasting arms are under them for their sure support. On earth He guides their steps, controls their enemies, and directs all his dispensations for their good; while, in heaven, He is pleading their cause, preparing them a place, and communicating down to them reviving foretastes of the glory that shall be shortly revealed.

Oh how is this mystery hidden from an unbelieving world! Who can believe it, till it is made known by experience, what an intercouse is maintained in this land of shadows between the Lord of glory and sinful worms? How should we praise him that He has visited us! for we were once blind to his beauty, and insensible to his love, and should have remained so to the last, had He not prevented us with his goodness, and been found of us when we sought him not.

~John Newton~



The Letters of John Newton – To Mrs. Place (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 237-239.

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John Newton – His Repeated Multiplied Goodness

5 Aug

I know what I ought to desire, and what I do desire. I point him out to others as the All-in-all; I esteem him as such in my own judgment; but, alas! my experience abounds with complaints. He is my sun; but clouds, and sometimes walls, intercept him from my view. He is my strength; yet I am prone to lean upon reeds. He is my friend; but on my part there is such coldness and ingratitude, as no other friend could bear. But still He is gracious, and shames me with his repeated multiplied goodness. Oh for a warmer heart, a more simple dependence, a more active zeal, a more sensible deliverance from the effects of this body of sin and death! He helps me in my endeavours to keep the vineyards of others! but, alas! my own does not seem to flourish as some do around me. However, though I cannot say I labour more abundantly than they all, I have reason to say with thankfulness, By the grace of God I am what I am. My poor story would soon be much worse, did not He support, restrain, and watch over me every minute.

~John Newton~



The Letters of John Newton – To J. Foster Barham, Esq. (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 214-215.

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John Newton – A Contrast Between Living for Today and For Eternity

31 May

As I said before, I wish you success in your business. I would propose nothing inconsistent with a due regard to it. But can I bound my desires for you within such narrow limits? Allow me to wish you more lasting riches, greater honours, and better pleasures than this world can afford. Alas! what a poor acquisition to be what is usually called a thriving man for a few years, and then to drop unawares into an unknown eternity. How often do we see that when a man has just compassed his point, made his fortune, and is about to sit down to enjoy all his heart can wish, he is hastily called away! What a contrast between living to-day in affluence and pleasure, regardless of that great God who has made us, and to-morrow perhaps to be summoned away to appear, naked and alone, before his tribunal, to give an account what use we have made of the talents so long entrusted to us! I pray God to impress the thought upon your heart before it is too late. I cannot but think there will be something within you suggesting while you read, that what I hint may possibly be true.

~John Newton~


The Letters of John Newton – To the Mr. John Catlett (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 31-32.

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John Newton – May You Be Added To the Trophies of Rich, Free, and Sovereign Grace

17 May

[Pleading with his brother-in-law who had just recovered from a sickness]

I used a wrong word when I spoke of your recovery. Dear brother, look upon it as no more than a REPRIEVE; for you carry the sentence of death about with you still; and unless you should be cut off (which God of his infinite mercy prevent) by a sudden stroke, you will as surely lie on a dying bed as you have now got up from a bed of sickness. And remember, too (I can hardly bear to write it), that should you neglect my admonitions, they will all tend to render you more inexcusable. I have delivered my own soul by faithfully warning you. But if you will not examine the matter with that seriousness which it deserves,–if you will not look up to God, the former of your body and the preserver of your spirit, for direction and assistance how to please Him,–if you will have your reading and your conversation only on one side of the question,–if you will suffer mercies and providences, afflictions and deliverances, to pass unimproved and unacknowledged, and live in the world as though you were created only to eat, sleep, and play, and after a course of years to be extinguished like the snuff of a candle,–why then, you must abide by the consequences. But, assuredly, sooner or later, God will meet you. My hearty, daily, constant prayer is, that it may be in a way of mercy, and that you may be added to the number of the trophies of rich, free, and sovereign grace. Amen.

~John Newton~



The Letters of John Newton – To Mr. John Catlett (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 28.

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John Newton – The Image of God and Unity

10 May

I endeavour to observe my Lord’s command, to call no man master upon earth; yet I desire to own and honour the image of God wherever I find it. I dare not say I have no bigotry, for I know not myself, and remember to my shame that formerly, when I ignorantly professed myself free from it, I was indeed overrun with it; but this I can say, I allow it not; I strive and pray against it; and thus far by the grace of God I have attained, that I find my heart as much united to many who differ from me in some points, as to any who agree with me in all. I set no value upon any doctrinal truth, further than it has a tendency to promote practical holiness.

~John Newton~



The Letters of John Newton – To the Rev. Francis Okeley (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 20.

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