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choice

September 2008

from John Newton

Final stanza of Amazing Grace in its original form (December 1772)

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who call'd me here below,

Will be forever mine.

From his first sermon as Rector of St Mary Woolnoth, London (19 December 1779)

The Bible is the grand repository of the truths which it will be the business and the pleasure of my life to set before you. It is the complete system of divine truth to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken with impunity. Every attempt to disguise or soften any branch of this truth in order to accommodate it to the prevailing taste around us either to avoid the displeasure or court the favour of our fellow mortals must be an affront to the majesty of God and an act of treachery to men. My conscience bears me witness that I mean to speak the truth among you.

Letter to William Wilberforce MP

My heart is with you, My Dear Sir. I see, though from a distance, the importance and difficulties of your situation. May the wisdom that influenced Joseph and Moses and Daniel rest upon you. Not only to guide and animate you in the line of political duty but especially to keep you in the habit of dependence upon God and communion with him in the midst of all the changes and bustle around you.

From his diary on the second anniversary of the death of his wife, Polly

Do I not feel myself something more weaned from the world? Have I not been drawn to aim at a closer walk with thee? Had'st thou left me to myself, I should either have tossed like a wild bull in a net or have sunk under the burden of a broken heart. For during these two years I have seldom passed two minutes together without feelings of a void within which thou alonest can supply.

From one of his later diary entries, regarding death

Oh for grace to meet the approach of death with a humble, thankful, resigned spirit becoming my profession. That I may not stain my character by impatience, jealousy or any hateful temper but may be prepared and permitted to depart in peace and hope and be enabled, if I can speak, to bear my testimony to thy faithfulness and goodness with my last breath. Amen.