“You must not expect habits and tempers will be eradicated instantaneously; but by perseverance in prayer, and observation upon the experiences of every day, much may be done in time.
Now and then you will (as is usual in the course of war) lose a battle; but be not discouraged, but rally your forces, and return to the fight.
There is a comfortable word, a leaf of the tree of life, for healing the wounds we receive, in 1 John 2:1.
If the enemy surprises you, and your heart smites you, do not stand astonished as if there was no help, nor give way to sorrow as if there was no hope, nor attempt to heal yourself.
But away immediately to the Throne of Grace, to the great Physician, to the compassionate High Priest, and tell Him all.
Satan knows, that if he can keep us from confession, our wounds will rankle; but do you profit by David’s experience, (Psalm 32:3–5).
When we are simple and open-hearted in abasing ourselves before the Lord, though we have acted foolishly and ungratefully, He will seldom let us remain long without affording us a sense of His compassion.
For He is gracious. He knows our frame. And He knows how to bear with us, even though we can hardly bear with ourselves, or with one another.
The main thing is to have the heart right with God: this will bring us in the end safely through many mistakes and blunders.
But a double mind, a selfish spirit, that would halve things between God and the world, the Lord abhors.
If the Lord is pleased to bless you, He will undoubtedly make you humble; for you cannot be either happy or safe, or have any probable hope of abiding usefulness, without it.
I do not know that I have had anything so much at heart in my connections with you, as to impress you with a sense of the necessity and advantages of an humble frame of spirit: I hope it has not been in vain.
O! to be little in our own eyes! This is the ground-work of every grace.
This leads to a continual dependence upon the Lord Jesus.
This is the spirit which He has promised to bless.
This conciliates us good-will and acceptance amongst men.
For he that abaseth himself is sure to be honoured.
And that this temper is so hard to attain and preserve, is a striking proof of our depravity.
For are we not sinners? Were we not rebels and enemies before we knew the Gospel?
And have we not been unfaithful, backsliding, and unprofitable ever since?
Are we not redeemed by the blood of Jesus?
And can we stand a single moment unless He upholds us?
Have we any thing which we have not received: or have we received any thing which we have not abused?
Why then are dust and ashes proud?
I am glad you have found some spiritual acquaintance in your barren land. I hope you will be helpful to them, and they to you.
You do well to guard against every appearance of evil.
If you are heartily for Jesus, Satan owes you a grudge.
One way or other he will try to cut you out work, and the Lord may suffer him to go to the length of his chain.
But though you are to keep your eye upon him, and expect to hear from him at every step, you need not be slavishly afraid of him.
For Jesus is stronger and wiser than he.
And there is a complete suit of armour provided for all who are engaged on the Lord’s side.
June 7, 1767″
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 2: 48-50.