The Letters of John Newton (eBook)

by John Newton

in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats

Over 150 letters. John Newton converted slave-trader, preacher, and hymn-writer, was one of the most colourful figures in the Evangelical Awakening of the eighteenth century. 'Once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa,' he wrote for this epitaph, 'by rich mercy of Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy.' It was through his prolific correspondence that Newton fulfilled his distinctive word as 'the letter-writer parexcellence of the Evangelical Revival'. His grasp of Scripture and deep personal experience of the 'amazing grace' of God, his many friends (among them, Whitefield, Cowper and Wilberforce), his manifold trials, his country pastorate, his strong, clear, idiomatic style- all these factors combined to prepare the author of 'How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds', for the exercise of his special gift. These letters, selected by his biographer, Josiah Bull, bear the practical imprint of all of Newton's writings; they cover a wide variety of subjects and aim 'to conform the believer to Christ'. Among them are several that were not previously published in earlier collections of his correspondence. Of particular value and interest are the biographical sketches and historical notes supplied by the editor.


"Newton's ... letters, in which he dealt with a wide variety of pastoral issues, are pure gold. Newton was able to take the great theological doctrines of the faith and apply them to the needs of friends, parishioners, even strangers who wrote for advice. In his letters he is often blunt, yet always tender. He is remarkably humble and open about his own flaws, but never in a cloying or self-absorbed manner. He is therefore able to point others to the grace of Christ on which he himself clearly depends.Reading one of Newton’s letters is like taking a hike along some path between high walls of rock or foliage that suddenly affords breathtaking views. In the midst of addressing some commonplace condition, usually with realistic detail, Newton will suddenly, almost as an aside, toss in several lines that blaze with glory.Newton’s letters have influenced both my pastoral work and my preaching. Newton did not simply call people to holy living, but he also did close analysis of their motives and showed them the specific reasons they were failing to obey God. Decades of constantly reading and re-reading the letters have taught me how to do better analysis of underlying motives, so that when the high doctrines of grace are preached and applied, they do not merely press on the will but change the heart." - Dr. Timothy Keller

“Ex-slave-trader John Newton was the friendliest, wisest, humblest and least pushy of all the eighteenth-century evangelical leaders, and was perhaps the greatest pastoral letter-writer of all time.” - J. I. Packer

"These letters are, according to the various circumstances of his correspondents — designed to guide and direct, to comfort, or, if need be, with all tenderness to reprove, while they often become the ardent effusions of Christian love towards those who formed the inner circle of his friends. They are full of wisdom and piety, rich in kindly feeling, written in easy flowing language, with many happy turns of expression, and often made striking by their simple yet ingenious illustrations." - Josiah Bull


Table of Contents

The Benefits of Affliction

Indwelling Sin and the Believer

Christian Liberty

A Guide to Godly Disputation

The Imminent Danger and the Only Sure Resource of this Nation

The Present and Future Rest of True Believers

Reading the Bible

Decline in the Spiritual Life


Conformity to the World

Letter to Church in Olney

Letter to Church in London

Blemishes in Christian Character

God Rules All!

The Government of the Tongue

Assurance of Salvation

Man in His Fallen Estate

The Christian and the World

True Patriotism

The Practical Influence of Faith

The Inefficacy of Mere Knowledge

The Advantages of a State of Poverty

Divine Guidance

Desires Unrealized

Causes, Nature, and Marks of a Decline in Grace

Difference Between Acquired and Experimental Knowledge

How to Walk with God

By the Grace of God I Am what I Am!

Separated from the Ungodly World

The History of Mankind

All Things Work Together for Good

The Heavenly Gardener

The Heavenly Builder

Our Life is a Warfare

Combating Worldliness

Theological Systems

The Comforts and Snares of Social Affections

The Call to the Ministry

An Essay on the Character of the Apostle Paul, Considered as an Example and Pattern of a Minister of Jesus Christ

Four Letters on 'Denominations', and Forms of 'Church Government'

On Eating and Drinking

On Female Dress

Two Letters to a Friend

Twenty-One Letters to a Friend

Four Letters to a Young Lady

Letters to William Bull

Eight letters to a Christian friend

Seven Letters to a Pastor

Five Letters to a Christian friend

Three Letters to a Tempted Believer

Three Letters to a Christian Friend

Seven Letters to a Christian Friend

Four Letters to a Christian Friend

Four Letters to a Widow

Four Letters to a Christian Friend

Seven Letters to a Christian Friend

Five Letters to a Young Man Going into the Christian Ministry

The Deceitfulness of the Heart

On All Things Being Given Us with Christ

Preaching the Gospel with the Power and the Spirit

Twenty-one Letters to his Adopted Daughter

Six Letters to Friends

Fourteen Letters to a Pastor

Five Letters to a Young Lady

Eighteen Letters to Several Friends

Eleven Letters to a Friend

Eight Letters to a Friend

Our Imperfect Knowledge of Christ's Love

Eight Letters to a Pastor

Six Letters to a Pastor

Nine Letters to a Pastor

Six Letters to a Pastor

Three Letters to a friend

Three Letters to an Aged Friend

Eighteen Letters to a Pastor

Three Letters to a Friend

The Great Shepherd

The Lord Reigns!

Little Trials

The Lord Only Afflicts for our Good

The Furnace of Affliction

A Christian's Attainments in the Present Life

Seriously Engaged about Trifles

The Plan of Salvation

Questions on Salvation

That Bitter Root, Indwelling Sin!

The Work of Grace

Difficulties and Ssnares

Addressing the Unconverted

Soldiers of Christ

What a Christian Ought to Be

Our Common Mercies

A Visitor from Heaven!

O for a Warmer Heart

Without Me You Can do Nothing

Thoughts From the Sick Room

When We See the World in Flames!

Thought on the Ice-palace

Emptiness of the Creature

All our Concerns are in His Hands

The Impatient Patient

Trust in the Providence of God, and Benevolence to His Poor

Pliny's Letter to the Emperor Trajan

Extract of a Letter to a Student in Divinity

Enjoyment of the Pleasures of the Present Life

A Believer's Frames

A Sketch of the Christian's Temper

I was Once Blind, but now I See

Blinded by Satan

Our Divine Shepherd

Will the Sins of Believers be Publicly Declared at the Great Day?

Family Worship

The Snares and Difficulties Attending the Ministry of the Gospel

The Propriety of a Ministerial Address to the Unconverted

The Inward Witness to the Ground and Reality of Faith

The Doctrines of Election and Final Perseverance

Simplicity and Godly Sincerity

Love to the Brethren


Christian Experience

The Believer's Growth in Grace

On Hearing Sermons


A Christian Library

The Exercise of Social Prayer

On the Gradual Increase of Gospel Illumination

To a Friend, on his Recovery from Illness

Communion with God

A Word in Season

The City was Pure Gold

A Word to Professors in trade

On Faith, and the Communion of Saints

The Duke of Sully

Lead us Not into Temptation

Views of Divine Truth

The Christian's Creed

Divine Revelation

Saving Knowledge

A Christian's Present Blessedness

The Heart of Man

A Letter to a Young Woman

Union with Christ


A Plan of Pastoral Training

Letters to His Wife

The constraining Influence of the Love of Christ

Brief biography

By Topic


By Scripture

Old Testament









1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1 Kings

2 Kings

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles








Song of Solomon


















New Testament







1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians





1 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

1 Timothy

2 Timothy





1 Peter

2 Peter

1 John

2 John

3 John



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