“I thank you for your condolences and prayers, especially the latter. I am a debtor to the prayers of my friends. The Lord has heard them on my behalf.
I have been, and am, wonderfully supported. My attachment to my dear wife was very strong, indeed idolatrous; yet I have been far from sinking under the stroke.
There is no school like the school of the cross. There men are made wise unto salvation; wise to win souls.
In a crucified Saviour are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
And the tongue of the truly learned, that can speak a word in season to them that are weary, is not acquired, like Greek and Latin, by reading great books; but by self-knowledge and soul exercises.
To learn navigation by the fire-side, will never make a man an expert mariner. He must do his business in great waters. And practice will bring him into many situations, of which his general theory could give him no conception.
I hope my late trial has not be wholly lost upon me. I am willing to live while the Lord pleases, for I am His, and not my own.
Independent of His will, I see little worth living for. I hope, from henceforth, I shall be a pilgrim and a stranger upon earth.
This world is too poor to repair my loss. It is a wound which can only be effectually healed, by Him that made it.
And faithful, indeed, are the wounds of such a friend. (Proverbs 27:6)
May we die daily.
May we live forever.
–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 243.
This quote is from a letter written on March 26, 1791, following the death of Mary, Newton’s beloved wife of forty years. Newton preached her funeral sermon from Habakkuk 3:17-18, a passage which he had reserved from his first entrance in the ministry for this particular service, if he should survive her. He later wrote: “The Bank of England is too poor to compensate for such a loss as mine.”