Saturday, August 4, 2007

John Newton on God's Sovereignty

Excerpt from Modern Reformation, July/August: Grace How Strange the Sound.

"At 82, (John) Newton could say, 'My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.' Far from dampening his enthusiasm for loving and serving his neighbor, the gospel of God's free grace was his engine. Like Whitefield, Newton was on the Calvinist side of the Evangelical Awakening. In one of his sermons he explains,
The divine sovereignty is the best thought we can retreat to for composing and
strengthening our minds under the difficulties, discouragements and disappointments which attend the publication of the gospel.... How many schemes
derogatory to the free grace of God, tending to darken the glory of the gospel
and to depreciate the righteousness of the Redeemer, have taken their rise from
vain and unnecessary attempts to vindicate the ways of God-or rather to limit
the actings of infinite wisdom to the bounds of our narrow understanding, to
sound the depths of the divine counsels with our feeble plummets, and to say to
Omnipotence, Hitherto shalt thou go, and no further. But upon the ground of the
divine sovereignty we may rest satisfied and stable. For if God appoints and
overrules all according to the purpose of his own will, we have sufficient
security both for the present and the future [p. 296, English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987)]."

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