John Newton — “Grace in the Blade”

Puritan writings often contain a depth of understanding and insight that is all too often lost in modern Evangelicalism. John Newton, most famously known for his hymn Amazing Grace, is among the Puritans who still feed the souls of saints with insight. Newton, like Bunyan before him, was not initially a scholar or man of great academic achievement. The following excerpt is from Letters of John Newton, specifically the letter called “Grace in the Blade.” Newton is here describing the character and evidences of a Christian. Not only can the Puritan’s provide great comfort, but also conviction and warning: this, it seems, can be evidence of both comfort and fear.

“That he believes the Word of God, sees and feels things to be as they are there described, hates and avoids sin, because he knows it is displeasing to God, and contrary to His goodness; he receives the record which God has given of His Son; has his heart affected and drawn to Jesus by the views of His glory, and of His love to poor sinners; ventures upon His name and promises as his only encouragement to come to a throne of grace; waits diligently in the use of all means appointed for the communion and growth of grace; loves the Lord’s people, accounts them the excellent of the earth, and delights in their conversion. He is longing, waiting, and praying, for a share in those blessings which he believes they enjoy, and can be satisfied with nothing less. He is convinced of the power of Jesus to save him; but through remaining ignorance and legality the remembrance of sin committed, and the sense of present corruption, he often questions His willingness; and not knowing the aboundings of grace, and the security of the promises, he fears lest the compassionate Savior should spurn him from his feet.”

John Newton 1822 – 1895