Category Archives: Humility

“I am a silly sheep, but I have a gracious, watchful Shepherd” by John Newton

“I would tell you how it is with me if I could; at the best, it would be an inconsistent account.

I am what I would not, and would what I cannot.

I rejoice and mourn; I stand fast, and am thrown down in the same moment.

I am both rich and poor; I can do nothing, yet I can do all things. I live by miracle.

I am opposed beyond my strength, yet I am not overpowered. I gain when I lose, and I often am a loser by my gains.

In a word, I am a sinner, a vile one; but a sinner believing in the name of Jesus.

I am a silly sheep, but I have a gracious, watchful Shepherd.

I am a dull scholar, but I have a Master who can make the dullest learn.

He still bears with me, He still employs me, He still enables me, He still owns me.

Oh, for a coal of heavenly fire to warm my heart, that I might praise Him as I ought!

As a people, we have much cause of complaint in ourselves, and much cause of thankfulness to Him.

In the main, I hope we are alive, though not as we could wish; our numbers rather increase from year to year, and some flourish. In the ordinances, we are favoured in a measure with his presence.

But, oh, for a day of His power; that His work may run broader and deeper, and the fire of grace spread from heart to heart, till the whole town be in a flame!

To this I hope you will give a hearty Amen, and often remember us in your prayers.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 6: 104-105

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“An earnest of heaven” by John Newton

“Tomorrow is the Sabbath. I am usually glad when it returns, though it seldom finds me in that frame of mine which I would desire.

But it is my happiness to live amongst many who count the hours from one ordinance to another.

I know they pray that I may be a messenger of peace, and an instrument of good to their souls; and I have cause to hope their prayers are in a measure answered.

For their sakes, as much as my own, I am glad to go up to the house of the Lord. O that in watering others I may be also watered myself!

I have been praying that tomorrow may be a day of power with you and with us, and with all that love Jesus in sincerity; that we may see His glory, and taste His love in the sanctuary!

When it is thus, the Sabbath is a blessed day indeed, an earnest of heaven.

There they keep an everlasting sabbath, and cease not night or day admiring the riches of redeeming love, and adoring Him who washed His people from their sins in His own blood.

To have such imperfect communion with them as is in this state attainable in this pleasing exercise, is what alone can make life worth the name.

For this I sigh and long, and cry to the Lord to rend the vail of unbelief, scatter the clouds of ignorance, and break down the walls which sin is daily building up to hide Him from my eyes.

I hope I can say, ‘My soul is athirst for God,’ and nothing less than the light of His countenance can satisfy me. Blessed be His Name for the desire: it is His own gift, and He never gives it in vain.

He will afford us a taste of the water of life by the way; and ere long we shall drink abundantly at the fountainhead, and have done with complaint for ever.

May we be thankful for what we receive, and still earnestly desirous of more.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 2: 201-202.

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“We are a spectacle to the universe” by John Newton

“Our all-sufficient God can give seasons of refreshment in the darkest hours, and break through the thickest clouds of outward affliction or distress.

To you it is given not only to believe in Jesus, but to suffer for his sake (Phil. 1:29): for so we do, not only when we are called to follow Him to imprisonment or death, but when He enables us to bear afflictive dispensations with due submission and patience.

Then He is glorified: then His grace and power are manifested in us.

The world, so far as they know our case, have a proof before them that our religion is not merely notional, but that there is a power and reality in it.

And the Lord’s people are encouraged by what they see of his faithfulness to ourselves.

And there are more eyes upon us still. We are a spectacle to the universe, to angels as well as to men.

Cheer up: the Lord has put you in your present trying situation, that you may have the fairer opportunity of adorning your profession of the Gospel.

And though you suffer much, He is able to make you abundant amends.

Nor need I remind you that He has suffered unspeakably more for you: He drank for your sake a cup of unmixed wrath, and only puts into your hand a cup of affliction mixed with many mercies.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 2: 191-192.

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“My soul is kept alive as it were by miracle” by John Newton

“My soul is kept alive as it were by miracle.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 2: 185.

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“Let us adore Him for His love” by John Newton

“O for a ray of Divine light to set me at liberty, that I might write a few lines worth reading, something that might warm my heart and comfort yours!

Then the subject must be Jesus.

But of Him what can I say that you do not know? Well, though you know Him, you are glad to hear of Him again and again.

Come then, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:3)

Let us adore Him for His love, that love which has a height, and depth, and length, and breadth, beyond the grasp of our poor conceptions; a love that moved Him to empty Himself, to take on Him the form of a servant, and to be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; a love that pitied us in our lost estate, that found us when we sought Him not, that spoke peace to our souls in the day of our distress; a love that bears with all our present weakness, mistakes, backslidings, and shortcomings; a love that is always watchful, always ready to guide, to comfort, and to heal; a love that will not be wearied, cannot be conquered, and is incapable of changes; a love that will in the end prevail over all opposition, will perfect that which concerns us, and will not leave us till it has brought us perfect in holiness and happiness, to rejoice in His presence in glory.

The love of Christ: it is the wonder, the joy, the song of angels; and the sense of it shed abroad in our hearts makes life pleasant and death welcome.

Alas! What a heart have I that I love Him no better!

But I hope He has given me a desire to make Him my all in all, and to account everything loss and dross that dares to stand in competition with Him.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 2: 180-181.

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“Our Shepherd is the Lord Almighty” by John Newton

“I doubt not but the Lord whom you love, and on whom you depend, will lead you in a sure way, and establish and strengthen and settle you in His love and grace.

Indeed he has done great things for you already.

The Lord is your Shepherd; a comprehensive word.

The sheep can do nothing for themselves: the Shepherd must guide, guard, feed, heal, recover. Well for us that our Shepherd is the Lord Almighty.

If His power, care, compassion, fulness, were not infinite, the poor sheep would be forsaken, starved, and worried.

But we have a Shepherd full of care, full of kindness, full of power, who has said, ‘I will seek that which was lost, and bind up that which was broken, and bring again that which was driven away, and will strengthen that which was sick.’ (Ezekiel 34:16)

How tender are these expressions, and how well fulfilled!

His sheep feed in the midst of wolves, yet are preserved safe; for, though they see Him not, His eye and His heart are upon them.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 2: 177.

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“A little grace is worth a thousand worlds” by John Newton

“A little grace, a spark of true love to God, a grain of living faith, though small as mustard-seed, is worth a thousand worlds.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 2: 175.

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