“February 14, 1772
I find by the date of your last, that I have not been so punctual to the time of answering as formerly. Indeed, business of one kind or another so grows on my hands, that I am in arrears to many.
I hope the Lord, who has mercifully given you children, will enable you to bring them up in His fear, and accompany your endeavours with His blessing; and make them in due time partakers of His grace, that they may know and love the Lord God of their parents.
Your warfare, it seems, still continues; and it will continue while you remain here. But He is faithful who has promised to make us more than conquerors in the last conflict,— then we shall hear the voice of war no more forever.
Whatever we suffer by the way, the end will make amends for all. The repeated experience we have of the deceitfulness of our own hearts, is a means which the Lord employs to make us willing debtors to His free grace, and teach us to live more entirely upon Jesus.
He is our peace, our strength, our righteousness, our all in all. And we learn from day to day, that, though diligence and watchfulness in the use of appointed means is our part, yet we are preserved in life, not by our care, but His.
We have a watchful Shepherd, who neither slumbers nor sleeps; His eyes are always upon His people; His arm underneath them; this is the reason that their enemies cannot prevail against them.
We are conscious to ourselves of many unguarded moments, in which we might be surprised and ruined if we were left without His almighty defence. Yea, we often suffer loss by our folly.
But He restores us when wandering; revives us when fainting; heals us when wounded; and, having obtained help of Him, we continue to this hour; and He will be our Guard and Guide even unto death.
He has delivered, he does deliver; and in Him we trust that He will yet deliver us.
We have had but few alterations, since my last; only that of late the Lord has been pleased to give His word a more convincing power than for some time before. We have had several awakened within these few months, who appear to be truly in earnest.
Upon the whole, though we have many causes of humiliation, I hope it is with us in some measure according to that pleasing description, (Acts 9:31). Help us to praise the Lord for His goodness to us.
As to myself, there is little variation in my path. The law of sin in my members distresses me; but the Gospel yields relief.
It is given me to rest in the finished salvation, and to rejoice in Christ Jesus as my all in all.
My soul is athirst for nearer and fuller communion with Him. Yet He is pleased to keep me short of those sweet consolations in my retired hours which I could desire.
However, I cannot doubt but He is with me, and is pleased to keep up in my heart some sense of the evil of sin, the beauty of holiness, my own weakness, and His glorious all-sufficiency.
His I am, and him I desire to serve. I am, indeed, a poor servant; but He is a gracious Master.
Oh! Who is a God like unto Him, that forgiveth iniquity, and casteth the sins of His people into the depths of the sea?
I shall not always live thus,— the land to which we are going is far different to this wilderness through which He is now leading us. Then we shall see His face, and never, never sin.
If either of you or your’s should come towards London, we shall be glad to see you; but, if not here, we hope to meet in glory. There is but little probability of my seeing you in Yorkshire.
We may meet however at present, I hope we do, at a throne of grace. I entreat a frequent remembrance in your prayers, both of me and mine.
This is the best proof we can give of our love to our friends, to bear them upon our hearts before the Lord. Afford me this, and I will pay you in kind as the Lord shall enable me.
Your’s in the best friendship,
–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Volume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 6: 51-53.