"I am still supported, and in some measure owned, in the pleasing service of preaching the glorious Gospel to my fellow-sinners. And I am still happy in an affectionate, united people.
Many have been removed to a better world, but others have been added to us so that I believe our numbers have been increased, rather than diminished from year to year. But most of our old experienced believers have finished their course, and entered into their rest.
Some such we had, who were highly exemplary and useful ornaments to their profession, and very helpful to the young of the flock. We miss them. But the Lord, who has the fulness of the Spirit, is, I hope, bringing others forward to supply their places.
We have to sing of abounding grace, and at the same time to mourn over the aboundings of sin, for too many in this neighbourhood have resisted convictions so long, that I am afraid the Lord has given them up to hardness of heart.
They are either obstinately determined to hear no more, or sit quietly under the preaching, and seem to be sermon-proof. Yet I hope and pray for a day of power in favour of some who have hitherto heard in vain.
Blessed be God, we are not without some seasons of refreshment, when a sense of His gracious presence makes the ordinances sweet and precious. Many miracles He has wrought among us in the twelve years I have been here.
The blind see, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed, and the dead are raised to spiritual life. Pray for us, that His arm may be revealed in the midst of us.
As to myself, I have had much experience of the deceitfulness of my heart, much warfare on account of the remaining principle of in-dwelling sin. Without this experience I should not have known so much of the wisdom, power, grace, and compassion of Jesus.
I have good reason to commend Him to others, as a faithful Shepherd, an infallible Physician, an unchangeable Friend. I have found Him such.
Had He not been with me, and were He not mighty to forgive and deliver, I had long ago been trodden down like mire in the streets. He has wonderfully preserved me in my outward walk, so that they who have watched for my halting have been disappointed.
But He alone knows the innumerable backslidings, and the great perverseness of my heart. It is of His grace and mercy that I am what I am: having obtained help of Him, I continue to this day.
And He enables me to believe that He will keep me to the end, and that then I shall be with Him forever."
--John Newton, The Works of John Newton (Vol. 6; London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 6: 54-55.