Beating Up The Lost

48days-cap593(John Newton, “MEMOIRS“)

Those who believe the doctrines of sovereign grace often act inconsistently with their own principles–when they are angry at the defects of others.

A company of travelers fall into a pit; one of them gets a passerby to draw him out. Now he should not be angry with the rest for falling in; nor because they are not yet out, as he is. He did not pull himself out. Instead, therefore, ofreproaching them–he should show them pity.

In the same way, a truly saved man will no more despise others–than blind Bartimaeus, after his own eyes were opened, would take a stick and beat every blind man he met!

“For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 

“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10


I Am a Poor Creature

Regenwurm1(John Newton’s Letters)

My recent journey was very pleasant–but I ought to wish that it was profitable. I have had long experience how little I am able to improve by the most desirable advantages–and how little I am affected by a combination of the greatest mercies.

I may express all my complaints in one short sentence: “I am a poor creature!”
And all my hopes and comforts may be summed up as briefly, by saying: “I have a rich and gracious Savior!”

Full as I am in myself of inconsistencies and conflicts–I have in Him, a measure of peace. He found me in a waste howling wilderness–and He redeemed me from the house of misery and bondage. And though I have been ungrateful and perverse–He has not yet forsaken me–and never will. He is able to hold even me up–to pity, support and supply me to the end of life.

How suitable a Savior! He is made all things to those who have nothing–and is engaged to help those who can do nothing.

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost, those who come to God through Him–since He always lives to make intercession for them!” Hebrews 7:25

If It’s God’s Will

Forging hot iron(John Newton’s Letters)

My dear friends,
We sympathize with you in what you must feel for dear Rebecca’s illness. You know that the Lord has an absolute right to dispose of all His creatures as He sees fit. As sinners–we have no rights. As believing pardoned sinners–we can have no reason to complain.

I trust that Rebecca’s illness is sanctified to give her nearer, deeper, and more precious views of the truths which she learned while in health. As low as she is brought, the Lord can raise her with a word; and He will–if it is for His glory and her best benefit. If He appoints otherwise, He can make her last days her best days–and enable you to cheerfully resign her to Him. Whether she lives or dies–she is the Lord’s. The time is short–and we hope to follow her to a better world, where there will be no more sin or sorrow or painful separation!

You know that the sovereignty of God toward His people is not arbitrary. It is connected with a wisdom which can make no mistakes–and a love which can give no unnecessary pain to those for whom He died upon the cross.

If we are in heaviness–then there is a need-be for it, and it is but for a season. His thoughts and ways are high above ours. What we do not know now–we shall know hereafter. Even now, we may be sure that He does all things well. May His gracious presence be with you–and then you will be able to rejoice, even in tribulation.

~  ~  ~  ~

As a Pig In His Muck

800px-Three_Pigs_Sleeping(John Newton’s Letters)

“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful–but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life!” Revelation 21:27

If we do not exactly know the particulars of what Heaven is–then we know to a certainty what it is not. We are sure that it is not like earth–there are no ale-houses, gambling parlors, or theaters there.

How then could those whose hearts are set upon these things–possibly be happy even in Heaven, where they would be separated forever from all that they love? Heaven must be a Hell to an unhumbled, unsanctified sinner–even if he could be admitted there. The company, the employments, the enjoyments–are of the same kind with what he despised on earth. If you admit a pig into your parlor among your friends–he would find no pleasure there. He would rather be in the sty, or wallowing in the mire in a ditch!

Well, such were some of us–yes, such were all of us once! And you, my dear friends, though you were not vile profligates like me–you were carelessly swimming down the stream of the world, and, when upon the edge of the whirlpool which would have eternally swallowed you up–He snatched you with a strong hand, set your feet upon a rock, established your goings, and has put a new song in your mouth!

“By the grace of God I am what I am!” 1 Corinthians 15:10

The Sanctifying Work of Trials

800px-Smidse_3(John Newton’s Letters)

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb–and naked I will depart. The LORD gave–and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

Believers are free from condemnation–but not free from pain, sickness, poverty, losses, crosses, sudden trying changes, and what we call premature death. These trials give occasion for the exercise and manifestation of many graces which are not so visible in the sunshine of prosperity. Our trials are further sanctified, to wean the people of God more from the world, and to weaken the body of sin which still dwells in them.

He who gave–has an undoubted right to take away. We are sure that His sovereignty is combined with His infinite wisdom and goodness–and that, when He crosses our wishes, no less than when He grants them–He does all things well! He does not afflict without a need-be–neither will He permit a trial to continue longer than is necessary. Be still, my soul, and know that He is God!

You are in the best hands–and I leave you with Him who loves you and will make all things work for your final benefit.

Oh, the mercy to be enabled to trust ourselves and those whom we love–to Him, and to see them confiding in Him likewise and resigned to His wise disposal. This all-sufficient God can and does make His people more than equal to any and every trial He appoints for them.

But I am a poor creature–and am daily learning that without Him I can do nothing.

Heeding the Warnings of God

(John Newton’s Letters)

My dear friends,
Poor dear Rebecca! Thankfully your child was not killed, nor a bone broken. We are always glad to hear from you, but now we must beg to hear soon to confirm our hopes, that by this time she is perfectly recovered. She had often been cautioned against sliding down by the rail–but I believe her late tumble will render future warnings needless. [Note: Rebecca had fallen off the rail at the top of stairs, and was taken up apparently dead–but revived in a few minutes.]

Is it not so with us? What are all the Lord’s precepts or prohibitions–but admonitions to do ourselves no harm. We are but children of a larger growth, and think we can please ourselves in our own way–until repeated experience makes us wiser, and the consequences of our choices teach us how unfit we are to choose for ourselves. The Lord pities His redeemed children–He says, “Oh, that you had hearkened unto Me!”

I preached a funeral sermon yesterday evening for my dear friend Benamore, from his own dying words, “He has done oil things well!” How can it be otherwise? If He does all things–then they must necessarily be well done; for His wisdom, power, and goodness are infinite. We are assured that not a sparrow, much less a child and a servant who loves Him, can fall to the ground without Him!

We are travelers through this wilderness world, and know something of the difficulties and dangers which surround us. At all times, let us stir up each other to admire our great Shepherd.
What love to redeem His sheep with His own precious blood!
What infinite wisdom–what an infallible guide!
What a sure guard is His almighty power!
What a never failing supply from His unbounded fullness!
What a comfortable resource we have in that unspeakable compassion and tenderness, which are but feebly represented by the tenderness of the nearest earthly relations–father, husband, brother, friend–all united!

He who once bled to death for us upon the cross–now reigns as a King and Priest upon His heavenly throne! He hears our prayers–He watches over us–He is preparing a place for us near Himself, and is waiting to receive us. We shall soon be at home, at our long home–for then all our warfare and wanderings will be ended, and we shall go out no more. Let us then cheerfully take up our cross, and run with faith and patience, the race that is set before us–looking unto Jesus!

May the Lord bless you all and double all your comforts, and sweeten all your trials, with a sense of His special redeeming love.
Your affectionate and obliged friend,
John Newton, 5th October, 1796

On To Our Rest

77000000000249404_1920x1080Mr. Andrews met with many storms and billows during his voyage on the sea of life!

(John Newton’s Letters)

“Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me be with Me where I am–that they may behold My glory!” John 17:24

My Very Dear Friends,
We wished that Mr. Andrews might remain much longer in this world of sin and sorrow–but the Lord had much better things for him. The time was come when He would have him near His throne, to behold His glory–and therefore our prayers were overruled.

I hope dear Mrs. Andrews can say from her heart, “The Lord does all things well.”

The time is short, and those who weep should be, if believers–as though they wept not. Many whom we loved best while here, and who are gone a little before us–are waiting for us. The joy of meeting where there will be no parting–will make abundant amends for the pain of a temporary separation.

Mr. Andrews met with many storms and billows during his voyage on the sea of life–but we trust he is now in that peaceful haven, where the winds of trouble never blow.

What a wonderful transition–to pass, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye–from pain and sickness and weeping friends–to join in the songs of the innumerable company of the redeemed before the throne of God and the Lamb!

“And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away!” Revelation 21:4

Father Knows Best!

Old traditional carpenters tools retro vintage style

(John Newton’s Letters)

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

This world seems all uncertainty–yet all is under the unspeakably gracious and infallibly wise direction of our Heavenly Father.

Oh! This is the great thing to be desired–to be savingly interested in the promise which engages that all things shall work together for our good–to give us a fitness for the inheritance of the saints in light, so that at last we may attain to His eternal joy. That will make rich amends for all the trials we can meet with along the way.

Our heavenly Father knows best, what is good for us. Oh, for grace to yield ourselves simply and cheerfully to His wise management. Hitherto He has helped us, and all His paths have been mercy and truth. What reasons have we to praise Him for the past–and to trust Him for the rest!

The Lord knows, and He permits me to tell Him what I feel or fear or wish. But when I have done so, it befits me to submit all to Him and to say, “Not my will–but may Your will be done.” I aim to say this from my heart, and to account it not only my duty–but my privilege to prefer His choice to my own.

The Lord graciously adjusts all our concerns–and it is our privilege to peaceably and thankfully submit to His judicious management. Our times are in His hands. Vastly more than we are aware of, depends upon the Lord’s wise controlling of all our affairs. Is it not a comfort to a blind man, to have an unfailing guide whom he may fully and safely trust?

May we be willing to leave all our concerns in His skillful and faithful hands–to live to Him and for Him today, and to trust Him for the events of tomorrow.

Oh how happy we are–when we can leave all in His nail-pierced hands!

Our Suffering Isn’t Forever

No-man's-land-flanders-field(John Newton’s Letters)

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” John 16:33

Every step we take, brings us nearer to our Father’s house! We shall soon be at Home–where the wicked cannot trouble, and where the weary are at rest.

How wisely the Lord varies His dispensations!

They are not all painful–lest we should be too much cast down.

Nor are they all pleasant–lest we should forget what and where we are.

Nor do our troubles come all at once. They are parceled out at different intervals, that one wound may be well healed before another is inflicted.

The Lord has wise reasons for all that He does–and we shall, before long, know them more clearly. In short, He does all things well! May we even now be thankful and yield a sweet submission to His holy will. He has a sovereign right to dispose of us as He pleases–and He has promised that He shall work all together for our good.

He has promised us peace in Himself–but in the world, He bids us to expect many trials and sorrows. The same or equal or greater afflictions–are common to all His people. We would never say, “This is too hard!” if we considered that we are sinners, and therefore always suffer less than we deserve.

The time is short–our obligations are unspeakably great–and Heaven will make amends for all! Surely then we should cheerfully, yes thankfully, take up our crosses, and follow our Lord–since we are assured that if we suffer with Him and for Him, we shall also reign with Him. Time flies apace, and past troubles will return no more. Every pulse we feel, beats a sharp moment of the pain away–and the last stroke will soon come. Then sorrow and sighing shall flee away–and joy and gladness shall come forth to conduct us Home! That time will come–yes, it is drawing nearer every hour!

A Great Bundle of Troubles

Woman_Carrying_Faggot_Munkácsy_Mihály(John Newton)

Sometimes I compare the troubles we have to undergo in the course of a year, to a great bundle of sticks far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundle, and gives us first one stick, which we are able to carry today; and then another, which we are able to carry tomorrow; and so on.

This we can easily manage–if we would only take the burden appointed for us each day. But we foolishly choose to increase our trouble, by carrying yesterday’s stick over again today–and adding tomorrow’s burden before we are required to bear it.

“As your days–so shall your strength be.” Deuteronomy 33:25