“September 6, 1768
Unless our dependence upon divine teaching bears some proportion to our diligence, we may take much pains to little purpose. On the other hand, we are directed to expect the teaching and assistance of the Holy Spirit only within the limits, and by the medium of the written Word.
For He has not promised to reveal new truths, but to enable us to understand what we read in the Bible: and if we venture beyond the pale of Scripture, we are upon enchanted ground, and exposed to all the illusions of imagination and enthusiasm.
But an attention to the word of God, joined to humble supplications for His Spirit, will lead us to new advances in true knowledge. The exercises of our minds, and the observations we shall make upon the conduct of others, and the dispensations of God’s providence, will all concur to throw light upon the Scripture, and to confirm to us what we there read concerning ourselves, the world, and the true happiness revealed to sinners in and through Jesus Christ.
The more sensible we are of the disease, the more we shall admire the great Physician; the more we are convinced that the creature is vanity, the more we shall be stirred up to seek our rest in God.
And this will endear the gospel to us; as in Christ, and in Him only, we can hope to find that righteousness and strength, of which we are utterly destitute ourselves.
I observe in many newspapers, the attestations of persons who have been relieved in diseases by the medicines which they have tried, and therefore recommend to others from their experience.
Innumerable cases might be published to the honour of the great Physician; none more memorable perhaps than my own.
I was labouring under a complication of disorders; fired with raging madness, possessed with many devils, (I doubt it not,) bent upon my own destruction; but He interposed, unsought, undesired.
He opened my eyes, and pardoned my sins. He broke my fetters, and taught my once blasphemous lips to praise His name.
Oh, I can, I do, I must commend it as a faithful saying, That Christ Jesus is come into the world to save sinners.
There is forgiveness with Him. He does all things well. He makes both the dumb to speak, and the deaf to hear.
I remain, with due respect,
Dear Sir, your most obedient servant.
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2015), 6: 203-204.