The Grand Repository of Truth!

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(Letters of John Newton)

“Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

The Bible is the grand repository of truth. It is the complete system of divine truth, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken, with impunity. Every attempt to disguise or soften any branch of this truth, in order to accommodate it to the prevailing taste around us–either to avoid the displeasure, or to court the favor, of our fellow mortals–must be an affront to the majesty of God, and an act of treachery to men!

Many respectable writers and preachers consider certain things to be essential. But we have the Scripture in our hands, and are not bound to abide by the decisions of any man–any farther than as they agree with this standard.

An awakened mind that thirsts after the Savior, and seeks wisdom by reading and praying over the Scripture–has little necessity for a library of human writings. The Bible is the fountain from whence every stream that deserves our notice is drawn! We have personally an equal right with others to apply immediately to the fountain-head, and draw the water of life for ourselves.

The purest streams of human wisdom are not wholly freed from a taint of the soil through which they run. A mixture of human infirmity is inseparable from the best human composition; but in the fountain, the truth is unmixed!

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11


“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold.
They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11

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It’s an Ugly Family!

800px-Branches_on_a_rainy_day(Letters of John Newton)

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of SELF . . .” 2 Timothy 3:1-2

Take care of SELF–this is the worst enemy we have to deal with:
self-will,
self-wisdom,
self-righteousness,
self-seeking,
self-dependence,
self-boasting!

It is a large family! I cannot reckon up all the branches, but they are all closely related to Satan–they are all sworn enemies to our peace.

If we lie low, then the Lord will raise us up. But if we will be something, then His arm will surely pull us down.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old SELF, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires” Ephesians 4:22

An Infallible Pilot

1024px-Four-vessels-meeting-at-the-lynchburg-ferry-on-the-houston-ship-chanel-n-shawDear friend,
Your constitution, your situation, your temperament, all that is either comfortable or painful in your lot–is of God’s divine appointment. The hairs of your head are all numbered! The same power which produced the planets, is necessary to the production of a single hair; nor can one of them fall to the ground without His notice, any more than the stars can fall from their orbits!

In providence, no less than in creation, He controls the very greatest as well as the very smallest things.

Healing and wounding are equally from His hand–and equally tokens of His love and care over us.

Our faithful and good Shepherd affords to us strength according to our day. He knows our frame, and will lay no more on us than He will enable us to bear–no more than He will cause to work for our good. Our comforts of every kind come free and undeserved–and when we are afflicted, it is because there is a need-be for it. He does it not willingly. Our trials are either beneficial medicines, or honorable appointments, to put us in such circumstances as may best qualify us to show forth His praise.

Our sea may sometimes be stormy, but we have an infallible Pilot, and shall infallibly gain our port!

Therefore do not be afraid; only believe!

Contriving Methods of Amusing Themselves

HaendelConcerning the performing of ‘Handel’s Messiah’ John Newton wrote:

How shall we view the people of our times? I see the great mass of people involved in one common charge of high treason against the omnipotent God! They are already in a state of guilt–but have not yet been brought to their trial. The evidence against them is so plain, strong and pointed, that there is not the least doubt of their guilt being fully proved–and that nothing but a free pardon from God can preserve them from their deserved eternal punishment!

In this situation, it would seem in their best interest to avail themselves of every expedient in their power for obtaining God’s mercy. But they are entirely heedless of their imminent danger, and are wholly taken up with contriving methods of amusing themselves–that they may pass away their short time on earth with as much levity as possible!

Among other resources, they call in the assistance of music–and they are particularly pleased with the performing of ‘Handel’s Messiah’. They choose to make . . .
the solemnities of their impending judgment,
the character of their Judge,
the methods of His procedure, and
the dreadful punishment to which they are exposed
–the themes of their musical entertainment!

And, as if they were quite unconcerned in their upcoming judgment–their attention is chiefly fixed upon theskill of the composer, in adapting the style of his music to the very solemn subjects with which they are trifling!

The offended King, however, unasked by them, and out of His great mercy and compassion towards those who have no pity for themselves–sends them a gracious message. He assures them that He is unwilling that they should eternally perish; and that He requires, yes, He entreats them to submit to Him! He points out a way in which He offers them a free and a full pardon!

But, instead of taking a single step towards a compliance with His undeserved and gracious offer–they set His message to music! And this, together with a description of their present hopeless state, and of the fearful doom awaiting them if they continue obstinate–is sung for their entertainment, and accompanied with every kind of music!

Surely, if such a case as I have supposed could be found in real life, though I might admire the musical taste of these people–I would certainly commiserate their stupidity and hardness of heart!

Quotes By John Newton

IMGP0073May we sit at the foot of the cross–and there learn . . .
what sin has done,
what justice has done,
and what love has done.

While God supports, upholds and governs all things–He is attentive to all the cares, needs and feelings of the weakest of His people.

There is not a drop of rain which falls, which is not directed by God. There is not a particle of dust carried along by the wind, which is not carried the very place which God has appointed.

Sin is the root and spring of all misery!

I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ–and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master!

My grand point in preaching, is to break the hard heart–and to heal the broken one!

All shall work together for good.
Everything is needful, that He sends.
Nothing can be needful, that He withholds.

For the most part, the Lord’s children are a poor and afflicted people.
The Lord chooses poverty as the safest state for them in this ensnaring world.

Blessed are we, when we can clearly see that every event and circumstance of our lives, is under the immediate direction and appointment of Him who cares for us, and who has engaged that all things shall, notwithstanding all our doubts and misgivings, work together for our good.

We know not how to properly appreciate any one blessing–until we are deprived of it.

The whole of our profession may be comprised in looking unto Jesus–to take our eyes off from other objects, especially from ourselves, and to fix them upon Him!

I believe that the leading points of Arminianism spring from, and are nourished by, the pride of the human heart!

Let This Comfort You

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(Letters of John Newton)

“My times are in Your hands!” Psalm 31:15

What a mercy it is that all our concerns are in sure hands! Not a hair of our heads can fall to the ground, but by the appointment of Him who orders and marshals the stars and calls them all by their names!

Diseases and sicknesses are His messengers, and, when they have answered His end–then He will recall them. But on many accounts there is a need be that we should sometimes be in heaviness for a season. O may we learn to take up the cross, and to kiss the rod of affliction. We need to look through all second causes–to Him who appoints and over-rules, and without whose permission, not a hair of our heads shall fall to the ground.

The Lord has promised to direct, moderate, sanctify, and relieve every trial of every kind. I long to have a more entire submission to His will, and a more steadfast confidence in His Word–to trust Him and wait on Him–to see His hand, and praise His name, in every circumstance of life, great and small.

Is sickness your present cross? It can come no sooner, nor fall heavier, than He bids it. And when His end is answered, and His hour comes to give relief–then sickness departs at His word. The cure becomes easy then, even where it seemed desperate before.

Our comforts are never safer than when we can fully trust the Lord to do with them, and with us–as He sees fit. He will not willingly or unnecessarily grieve His redeemed children. When His arm seems lifted up to strike them–how often does He put it into their hearts to run toward Him and humble themselves before Him, and thus prevent the blow!

We shall have cause to be thankful for all our afflictions–if the Lord is pleased to employ them as means to make us more humble and broken-hearted, and to wean our hearts from this vain world.

Sickness often gives us a sensible proof of the vanity of everything earthly. May the Lord sanctify our sicknesses and pains, to quicken our desires for that better world, when pain shall be no more!

Let this comfort you: that Jesus is the Great Physician!

More of Him, Less of Me

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(Letters of John Newton)

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You!” Psalm 73:25-26

There is nothing that I desire more, than frequent, lively, and heart-affecting views of Jesus; who, like the brazen serpent of old, was lifted up on the cross–that we, beholding Him by faith, might live; even though the old serpent has so often stung us and filled us with the baneful, painful poison of sin!

Wonderful are the effects when a crucified, glorious Savior is presented . . .
by the power of the Spirit,
in the light of the Word,
to the eye of faith!

This sight of the crucified, glorious Savior . . .
destroys the love of sin,
heals the wounds of guilt,
softens the hard heart,
fills the soul with peace, love and joy,
and makes obedience practical, desirable and pleasant.

If we could see more of Him–we would look less at other things. But, alas! Unbelief places a veil before our sight, and worldly-mindedness draws our eyes another way. Some vain hope, or vain fear, or vain delight–comes in like a black cloud and hides our Beloved from our eyes. 

He Does What He Does Out of Love

Flogging(Letters of John Newton)

“For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6

“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” Revelation 3:19

My Dear Friend,
Because the Lord loves you–He appoints trials for you. Like most effectual medicines, they are neither pleasant to the taste nor in their operation, when first taken–but afterwards they yield a harvest of righteousness and peace. He sends them not for His own pleasure, but for our profit.

He could relieve you in a moment, but He does not. The plain inference is, that it is good, it is best for us to be afflicted!

I have had my trials, and I can from experience bear testimony to His all-sufficiency and faithfulness.

He does all things well. How can He who is infinitely wise and good, do otherwise?

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12

Wretchedness Through and Through

1280px-Laundry_in_the_river.jpg(Letters of John Newton)

“Oh, what a wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Romans 7:24

I see much daily cause for humiliation–whether I look backward or inward. The sum of my complaints amounts to this–that I am a sick sinner, diseased in every part. I am burdened with a body of sin and death.

But I have a little book, which I am enabled to believe is the sure Word of God. The doctrines and promises I meet with in it, which we call the gospel, exactly suit my needs–and the temper and conduct it is designed to form, agrees with my leading desires.

I was once far otherwise minded, and would doubtless have remained so–had not almighty power and sovereign mercy softened my heart. I would therefore praise Him for what he has done, and wait upon Him to do more, for I can do nothing for myself. In the mean time, instead of complaining–I would try to be thankful.

If He has begun a good work, I dare not indulge a doubt of His carrying it on to completion. If He who is the infallible Physician has undertaken my case–I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord!