These 4 snippets from the Cardiphonia of John Newton are not connected in any way. They are simply 4 random things that struck me while reading his letters today. Each from a different letter. The 4th one will be of special interest to preachers. I trust they are a blessing.
Cardiphonia is an old word meaning utterance of the heart.
Most of our complaints are owing to unbelief, and the remainder of a legal spirit; and these evils are not removed in a day. Wait on the Lord, and he will enable you to see more and more of the power and grace of our High Priest. The more you know him, the better you will trust him: the more you trust him, the better you will love him; the more you love him, the better you will serve him. This is God’s way: you are not called to buy, but to beg; not to be strong in yourself, but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
It is pleasant now and then to have opportunity of hearing a variety of preachers, but the best and greatest of them are no more than instruments: some can please the ear better than others, but none can reach the heart any farther than the Lord is pleased to open it.
It is good to be humbled for sin, but not to be discouraged; for though we are poor creatures, Jesus is a complete Saviour; and we bring more honour to God by believing in his name, and trusting his word of promise, than we could do by a thousand outward works.
I went yesterday into the pulpit very dry and heartless. I seemed to have fixed upon a text, but when I came to the pinch, it was so shut up that I could not preach from it. I had hardly a minute to choose, and therefore was forced to snatch at that which came first upon my mind, which proved 2 Tim. 1:12. Thus I set off at a venture, having no resource but in the Lord’s mercy and faithfulness; and indeed what other can we wish for? Presently my subject opened, and I know not when I have been favoured with more liberty. Why do I tell you this? Only as an instance of his goodness, to encourage you to put your strength in him, and not to be afraid, even when you feel your own weakness and insufficiency most sensibly. We are never more safe, never have more reason to expect the Lord’s help, than when we are most sensible that we can do nothing without him.