“My soul, wait thou only, only upon the Lord, who is (according to the expressive phrase, Heb. 4:13) He with whom we have to do for soul and body, for time and eternity.
What thanks do we owe, that though we have not yet attained perfectly this great lesson, yet we are admitted into that school where alone it can be learnt?
And though we are poor, slow scholars, the great and effectual Teacher to whom we have been encouraged and enabled to apply, can and will bring us forward?
He communicates not only instructions, but capacities and powers. There is none like Him.
He can make the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak: and how great is His condescension and patience! How does He accommodate Himself to our weakness, and teach us as we are able to bear!
Though all are very dunces when He first receives them, not one was ever turned out as incapable: for He makes them what He would have them to be.
O that we may set Him always before us, and consider every dispensation, person, thing, we meet in the course of every day, as messengers from Him, each bringing us some line of instruction for us to copy into that day’s experience!
Whatever passes within us or around us may be improved (when He teaches us how) as a perpetual commentary upon His good Word.
If we converse and observe with this view, we may learn something every moment, wherever the path of duty leads us, in the streets as well as in the closet, and from the conversation of those who know not God (when we cannot avoid being present at it), as well as from those who do.
Separation of dear friends is, as you observed, hard to flesh and blood; but grace can make it tolerable. I have an abiding persuasion that the Lord can easily give more than ever He will take away.
Which part of the alternative must be my lot, or when, He only knows; but in general I can rely on Him to appoint the time, the manner; and I trust His promise of strength suited to the day shall be made good.
Therefore I can for the most part rejoice, that all things are in the hand and under the direction of Him who knows our frame, and has Himself borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, in His own body.
A time of weeping must come, but the morning of joy will make amends for all. Who can expound the meaning of that one expression, ‘An exceeding, and eternal weight of glory?’ (2 Cor. 4:17)
The case of unconverted friends is still more burdensome to think of; but we have encouragement and warrant to pray and to hope.
He who called us can easily call others: and He seldom lays a desire of this sort very closely and warmly upon the hearts of His people, but when it is His gracious design, sooner or later, to give an answer of peace.”
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 2: 188-189.