by John Newton
MY DEAR FRIENDS,
I HAVE principally two motives for publishing these Discourses. The one is, to exhibit a specimen of the doctrine that is taught and most surely believed amongst us, to satisfy those who desire information, and to stop, if possible, the mouth of slander. I cheerfully submit them to examination; in full confidence that they contain nothing of moment which is not agreeable to the general strain of the word of God, and to the principles of the church whereof I am a minister, as specified in the Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies. And that what I now print is to the same purport with the usual course of my preaching, I doubt not but all who statedly hear me will do me the justice to acknowledge.
My other motive is a desire of promoting your edification. It is my comfort that many of you live by the truths of the Gospel, and highly prize them. You will not therefore be unwilling to view the substance of what you once heard with acceptance. But it is to be feared, that the far greater part of the congregation have need to have the things pertaining to their peace pressed upon them again and again, for a different reason; not because they know them, and therefore love to have them brought to their remembrance, but because they have hitherto heard them without effect. For the sake of both, therefore, I am willing to leave an abiding testimony amongst you. I hereby take each of your consciences to witness, that I am clear of your blood; and that, to the best of my knowledge and ability, I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God.
In the choice of the subjects I have selected for publication, I have not been solicitous to comprise a succinct scheme of Gospel doctrine, but have given the preference to such topics, which the peculiar circumstances of the times, and of my hearers, make me desirous might be had in continual remembrance.
The Exposition of the Third Commandment, which was first delivered in your hearing, I afterwards preached (nearer the form in which it now appears) at London; and as it led me to touch on some particulars of a very public and interesting concern, I have given it a place in this volume. And I shall think myself happy indeed, if it may please God to give weight to the testimony of so obscure a person with respect to a grievance under which the nation groans.
As long discourses are in many respects inconvenient, I have chosen to publish no more than a brief summary of what you heard more at large from the pulpit. And as I aim to speak plain truths to a plain people, I have purposely avoided any studied ornaments in point of expression, being desirous to accommodate myself to the apprehensions of the most ignorant.
May it please the God of all grace to accompany my feeble endeavours to promote the knowledge of his truth, with the powerful influence of his Holy Spirit. And I earnestly entreat all who know how to draw near to a Throne of Grace by Jesus Christ, to strive mightily in prayer for me, that I may stand fast in the faith, and increase in the knowledge of Jesus the Saviour; and that for his sake I may labour, without fear or fainting, in the service to which he has been pleased to call me. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
I am your affectionate friend, and servant in the Gospel of Christ,
Olney, Jan. 20, 1767.
Table of Contents
TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE PARISH OF OLNEY
SERMON I: The small Success of the Gospel Ministry considered - Matth. 11:25.
SERMON II: In what Sense the Mysteries of the Gospel are hid from many - Matth. 11:25.
SERMON III: The Characters of those from whom the Gospel Doctrines are hid - Matth. 11:25
SERMON IV: The Nature of Spiritual Revelation, and who are favoured with it - Matth. 11:25
SERMON V: The Sovereignty of Divine Grace asserted and illustrated - Matth. 11:26
SERMON VI: Of the Person of Christ - Matth. 11:27
SERMON VII: Of the Authority of Christ - Matth. 11:27
SERMON VIII: The Glory and Grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ - Matth. 11:27
SERMON IX: Labouring and heavy laden Sinners described - Matth. 11:28
SERMON X: Of Coming to Christ - Matth. 11:28
SERMON XI: The present and future Rest of Believers in Christ - Matth. 11:28
SERMON XII: Of the Yoke of Christ - Matth. 11:29
SERMON XIII: The Service of Christ easy and pleasant to his People - Matt 11:30
SERMON XIV: Believers cautioned against Misconduct in their Profession - Rom. 16:16
SERMON XV: The Extent and Sanction of the Third Commandment - Exod. 20:7
SERMON XVI: The Christian Life compared to a Race - 1 Cor. 9:24
SERMON XVII: No Access to God but by the Gospel of Christ - Micah 6:6–8
SERMON XVIII: Of a Living and a Dead Faith - James 2:26
SERMON XIX: Guilt removed, and Peace restored - Psalm 51:15
SERMON XX: Of the Assurance of Faith - 1 John 5:19
SERMON I: On the Deceitfulness of the Heart - Jer. 17:9, 10.
SERMON II: On the Saviour and his Salvation - 1 Tim. 1:15
SERMON III: On the Christian Name - Acts. 11:26.
SERMON IV: On all Things being given us with Christ - Rom. 8:32.
SERMON V: On searching the Scriptures - John 5:39.
SERMON VI: The same Subject continued