“I hope your souls prosper, and that the Lord hears from you and you from Him often.
And I hope that you both live a life of faith in the Son of God, are strong in His might, and comforted by refreshing views of His glory.
The great secret of our profession, (oh, that I could learn it better!) is to be looking at Jesus.
I am a stranger to the court; but I am told that those who wait there form themselves into little parties, have their own conversation, or make their remarks upon what passes, till the king appears; then every thing is hushed and dropped, and their attention is fixed upon him alone.
Oh, that thus by the eye of faith we might obtain such a sight of the glory, beauty, and love of King Jesus, as might unite our scattered thoughts, and attract all our powers and affections to Himself.
But, alas! we are prone (at least I may speak for myself) to forsake the fountain of living waters, and to hew out broken cisterns.
Instead of receiving Him, I am often looking in myself for something to enable me to do without Him, or at least for something to strengthen the warrant He has given me in His word to come to Him.
The Lord be merciful to my unbelief and slowness of heart; though taught and warned again and again, I am frequently repeating the old mistake, and seeking the living among the dead.
I have some faint idea of the life of faith, and can talk a little about it; but to experience myself the power of what I preach to others, this is too often what I find not.
Yet I must praise Him. If I did not, might not the very stones cry out and shame me?
For surely He hath dealt marvelously with me.
He found me in a waste howling wilderness, in more than the prodigal’s distress, with my heart full of madness and rebellion, and beset with horror on every side.
In this state I was when He first passed by me, and bid me live.
He sent from on high, and delivered me out of deep waters. And, oh, what has He not done for me since!
Given me to know, yea, to preach, His Gospel, cast my lot in a pleasant place, filled and surrounded me with mercies on every side.
And He has spoken good concerning me for a great while to come, even forever and ever. Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Come, my dear friends, and magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 6: 74-75.