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How fast the weeks return! We are again upon the eve of a sabbath. May the Lord give us much of his own Spirit on his own day. I trust I have a remembrance in your prayers. I need them much: my service is great.

It is, indeed, no small thing to stand between God and the people, to divide the word of truth aright, to give every one portion, to withstand the counter tides of opposition and popularity, and to press those truths upon others, the power of which, I, at times, feel so little of in my own soul. A cold, corrupt heart is uncomfortable company in the pulpit.

Yet in the midst of all my fears and unworthiness, I am enabled to cleave to the promise, and to rely on the power of the great Redeemer. I know I am engaged in the cause against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. If He died and rose again, if He ever lives to make intercession, there must be safety under the shadow of his wings: there would I lie.

In his name I would lift up my banner; in his strength I would go forth, do what He enables me, then take shame to myself that I can do no better, and put my hand upon my mouth, confessing that I am dust and ashes—less than the least of all his mercies.

Source: John Newton, letter dated July 26, 1776.

Newton reminds us that pastors…

face a relentless repetition of pastoral responsibilities that come each week and culminate on Sunday

struggle to rightly divide Scripture with every sermon

strive to withstand the temptations that accompany opposition

struggle against the temptations that accompany popularity and success

earnestly long to see the truth of the gospel affect cold hearts

themselves face the reality that they often carry a cold heart of their own into the pulpit with them

Source: http://sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/cj-mahaney/

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I am what I am

I am not what I ought to be.
Ah! how imperfect and deficient.

Not what I might be,
considering my privileges and opportunities.

Not what I wish to be.
God, who knows my heart, knows I wish to be like him.

I am not what I hope to be;
ere long to drop this clay tabernacle, to be like him and see him as He is.

Not what I once was,
a child of sin, and slave of the devil.

Thought not all these,

not what I ought to be,
not what I might be,
not what I wish or hope to be, and
not what once was,

I think I can truly say with the apostle,

“By the grace of God I am what I am.”

—Cited in Letters of John Newton

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John Newton lived to be eighty-two years old and continued to preach and have an active ministry until beset by fading health in the last two years of his life. Even then, Newton never ceased to be amazed by God’s grace and told his friends:

My memory is nearly gone;

but I remember two things;

That I am a great sinner, and

that Christ is a great Saviour.

John Newton (1725-1807)

English minister and hymn writer

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The fountain-head

The Lord has often reminded me what a poor creature I am in myself, incapable of standing a single hour without continual fresh supplies of strength and grace from the fountain-head.

source: John Newton

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William Jay recounts how Newton described the place of his Calvinism. He was having tea one day with Newton.
Newton said, “‘I am more of a Calvinist than anything else; but I use my Calvinism in my writings and my preaching as I use this sugar’—taking a lump, and putting it into his tea-cup, and stirring it, adding, ‘I do not give it alone, and whole; but mixed and diluted.’”
In other words, his Calvinism permeates all that he writes and teaches and serves to sweeten everything.

William Jay, George Redford, John Angell James The Autobiography of the Rev. William Jay: With Reminiscences of Some Distinguished Contemporaries, Selections from His Correspondence, and Literary Remains Published by R. Carter & brothers, 1855, page 308.

http://books.google.com/books?id=1iERAAAAYAAJ

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John Newton

“My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things; That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”

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