“Popularity is apt to make us forget who we are, what we are, and where we are” by John Newton

“You will have two counter-streams to withstand, either of which is sufficient to bear us off our feet, unless the Lord upholds us; I mean, opposition and popularity.

The former is troublesome, and in some respects perilous, as we are too prone to catch something of the same spirit.

But the latter is much more dangerous. Our friends are often eventually our worst enemies.

It is not easy to find a preacher that has been honoured with much popularity, who has not been, at some times, greatly hurt by it.

Popularity is apt to make us forget who we are, and what we are, and where we are. And if we are left to suppose ourselves persons of consequence, but for a single hour, it will surely prove to our loss, and may expose us to a wound that may leave a lasting scar, even though the Lord is pleased to heal it.

It behoves us, my dear Sir, to keep up a clear distinction in our minds between gifts and grace.

I can say, from experience, that it is possible to have a tolerable degree of liberty for outward service, so as to hold a congregation pretty fast by the ears, to make them weep, yea, and perhaps to weep with them, when the heart is far enough from a right frame before the Lord.

These things you know; I had them not in view when I began, but they occurred in writing, and I set them down as a humbling part of my experience.

May the Lord enable us to walk humbly, and then we shall walk safely; to such He will give more grace.

He will be their light, their strength, and their joy. May you ever find Him so.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2015), 6: 115-116.

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Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, grace, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, The Gospel

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