A Jewel from John Newton

Dear HLPC family,

I continue to be encouraged by the writing and ministry of John Newton.  His hymns have ministered to us all such as “Amazing Grace” and the song we sang just his past Sunday, “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder,” and many others.

On Tuesday morning I read the following from the book Jewels from John Newton that I wanted to share as a follow-up to this past Sunday’s sermon.  This is obviously from a letter Newton wrote to someone whose wife was facing a serious illness:

“I am willing to hope, that this is but a short season of anxiety, appointed for the exercise of your faith and patience, and to give you, in his good time, a signal proof of his power and goodness in answering prayer.  He sometimes brings us into such a situation that the help of creatures is utterly unavailing, that we may afterwards be more clearly sensible of his interposition.  Then we experimentally learn the vanity of all things here below and are brought to a more immediate and absolute dependence upon himself.  We have need having these lessons frequently inculcated upon us; but when his end is answered, how often, after he has caused grief, does he show his great compassions, and save us from our fears by an outstretched arm and such a seasonable and almost unexpected relief, as constrains us to cry out, ‘What has God wrought!’ and ‘Who is a God like unto thee!’ Such, I hope, will be the issue of your present trial, and that he who gave her to you at first, will restore her to you again. I see you in the furnace; but the Lord is sitting by it as the refiner of silver; to moderate the fire, and manage the process, so that you shall lose nothing but dross, and be brought forth refined as gold, to praise his name. Apparent difficulties, however great, are nothing to him. If he speaks, it is done; for to God the Lord belong the issues from death. Should his pleasure be otherwise, and should he call your dear partner to a state of glory before you, still I know that he is able to support you. What he does, however painful to the flesh, must be right, because he does it.  Having bought us with his blood, and saved our souls from hell, he has every kind of right to dispose of us and ours as he pleases; and this we are sure of, he will not lay so much upon us as he freely endured for us; and he can make us amends for all we suffer, and for all we lose, by the light of his countenance.”

Your Pastor,