“March 3, 1772
And now, what shall I say? May the Lord direct me to send you a profitable word. It rejoices my heart to think, that at a time of life when you might have been plunging into the vanities of the world, you are seeking Jesus.
The Lord, who appointed the hour of your birth, and the bounds of your habitation, was pleased in His good providence to withdraw you early from the giddy circle of dissipation in which you might have lived, and to favour you with the advantages of example, instruction, and ordinances.
You live at a distance from those ensnaring temptations by which the minds of young persons are blinded and stupefied. Yet this alone would not have secured you. His providence has been subservient to His grace.
Otherwise, by this time, you would have been weary and impatient of restraint; you would have accounted the means of grace burdensome, and your home a prison.
The evil of the heart is too deeply rooted to be overcome by any thing less than the power of God. Whatever your Papa and Mamma, or the ministers of the Gospel, could have told you concerning your state as a sinner, and your need of a Saviour, you would not have believed them, if the Lord Himself had not borne witness in your heart to His own truths.
You are now seeking Him that you may find Him, yet, if He had not found you at first, you would never have sought Him at all. This I mention for your encouragement, as a good reason why you may be assured that you shall not seek Him in vain.
Go on, my dear Miss; and may the Lord be with you. Give yourself to Him every day, and many times a day; remember how many claims He has to you; especially remember this one, that He bought you with His own blood. He died that you might live.
May the name of Jesus be written upon the tablet of your heart, and be as a seal upon your arm; that all your desires and all your actions may be regulated by His word, directed to His glory, and animated by a living principle of grace, derived from Him who is the fountain of grace.
Two things alone are worth a serious thought,—His presence and His image: the one to make you comfortable in yourself, the other that you may shine to His praise as a light in the world.
These blessings, and the increase of them, are gifts which He bestows without money and without price. Yet it is our part to wait upon Him for them, by prayer, by reading His good word, and frequenting His ordinances.
Thus you shall know if you follow on to know the Lord.
I am your affectionate friend.
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1820/1988), 6: 250–251, 253.