John Newton’s Confession, and Mine!

I’m reading “The Letters of John Newton” who was an English Anglican clergyman and wrote the most beloved hymn of all time, “Amazing Grace.” In a letter to a friend he wrote, “I continue to creep on. I preach to others with some marks of acceptance. I attempt to preach to my own heart likewise – but it is very dull, and not easily impressed. It is a strange heart; it needs to be emptied – and filled, to be broken – and bound up, to be softened – and consolidated, at the same time….

“… I am sometimes almost weary and ashamed either to write or preach anymore, there is such a vast difference between what I am in myself, and the idea the Lord has given me of what a believing sinner ought to be.”

I take a perverse kind of comfort to know that such a great man of God and great pastor was open and honest enough to share such thoughts with a minister friend in a letter. John Newton certainly knew of what he wrote when he composed the hymn “Amazing Grace.” We pastors, if we’re as honest as John Newton, will have as our personal anthem “Amazing Grace.”

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