I received this letter from our great-great grandfather, John Newton and hereby pass it along to you. He looks forward to seeing all of us at our journey’s end! (There is no time in heaven).
Should I ever be
I would surely be lost within.
(Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ, our Lord!)
“I will put My fear in their hearts, so they will never turn away from Me.” Jeremiah 32:40
My Dear Brethren and Sistren,
I do believe that the Lord will keep me while I walk humbly and obediently before Him; but were this all–it would be cold comfort! For I am prone to wander–and need a Shepherd whose watchful eye, compassionate heart, and boundless mercy–will pity, pardon, and restore my backslidings!
For, though by His goodness and not my own–I have hitherto been preserved in the path of holiness; yet I feel those evils within me, which would shortly break loose and bear me down to destruction, were He not ever present with me to control them.
Those who comfortably hope to see His face in glory, but depend upon their own watchfulness and endeavors to preserve themselves from falling–must be much wiser, better, and stronger than I am! Or at least they cannot have so deep and painful a sense of their own weakness and vileness, as daily experience forces upon me. I desire to be found in the use of the Lord’s appointed means for the renewal of my spiritual strength–but I dare not undertake to watch a single hour, nor do I find ability to think a good thought, nor a power in myself of resisting any temptation! My strength is perfect weakness, and all I have is sin.
In short, I must sit down in despair–if I did not believe that He who has begun a good work in me, will carry it out to completion.
“Hold me up–and I shall be safe!” Psalm 119:117
“I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules!” Ezekiel 36:27