True Patriotism!

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(Letters of John Newton)

Dear friend,
Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, than it would be to paint the cabin—while the ship is sinking! Or to decorate the parlor—while the house is on fire!

When our Lord Jesus was upon earth, He refused to get involved in disputes or politics, “Friend, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Luke 12:14. “My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight!” John 18:36. God’s children belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and a part of their Scriptural character is, that they are the “quiet in the land.” Psalm 35:19.

Satan has many contrivances to amuse people, and to divert their thoughts from their real danger!

My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is—that He may induce you to employ the talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God’s wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged! This, I think, is true patriotism—the best way in which people in private life may serve their country.

I consider the ungodly as saws and hammers in the hand of the Lord. So far as they are His instruments, they will succeed—but not an inch further! Their wrath shall praise Him, and be subservient to His designs!

If our lot is so cast that we can exercise our ministry free from stripes, fines, imprisonments, and death—it is more than the gospel has promised to us! If Christians were quiet when under the cruel governments of Nero and other wicked persecutors, when they were hunted down like wild beasts—then we ought to be not only quiet but very thankful now! It was then accounted an honor to suffer for Christ and the ‘offence of the cross’!

Those are to be greatly pitied, who boast of their ‘liberty’—and yet they do not consider that they are in the most deplorable bondage as the slaves of sin and Satan, under the curse of God’s law and His eternal wrath! Oh! for a voice to reach their hearts, that they may know their true and dreadful state—and seek deliverance from their horrific thraldom! May you and I labor to direct them to the one thing, which is absolutely needful, and abundantly sufficient.

If I had the wisdom or influence to soothe the angry passions of mankind—I would gladly employ them! But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here in this world. My charter, my rights and my treasures, are all in heaven—and there my heart ought to be. In a very short time, I may be removed (and perhaps suddenly) into the unseen and eternal world—where all that now causes so much bustle upon earth—will be of no more importance to me—than the events which took place among the antediluvians!

In the hour, when death shall open the door into eternity—many things which now assume an ‘air of importance’, will be found as light and unsubstantial as a child’s dream!

How crucial then, is it for me—to be found watching, with my lamp burning, diligently engaged in my proper calling! For the Lord has not called me to set governments right—but to preach the gospel, to proclaim the glory of His name, and to endeavor to win souls! “Let the dead bury their own dead—but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God!” Luke 9:60. Happy is that servant, whom his Master finds so doing, when He returns!

As you have forced me to respond—both duty and love have obliged me to be faithful and free in giving you my thoughts.

I recommend you to the care and blessing of the great Shepherd and Savior; and remain for His sake, your affectionate friend and brother,
John Newton

A Scriptural View of Sin

2014-11-12-exchange1 (1)ALLEINE: O miserable man, what a deformed monster has sin made you! God made you “little lower than the angels”–but sin has made you little better than the devils!

BEART: There is a certain infiniteness in sin, because it is against an infinite God, which therefore brings a punishment of infinite duration, because it cannot be atoned for by finite creatures.

BROOKS: Did God leave us to act according to our sinful natures–we would all be incarnate devils, and this world would be an absolute Hell!
There is no little sin–because there is no little God to sin against.

EDWARDS: You contribute nothing to your salvation–but the sin which made it necessary!
Never did God so manifest His hatred of sin, as in the death and suffering of His only begotten Son.

FLAVEL: Christ is not sweet–until sin is made bitter to us!
If God should damn you to all eternity–your eternal sufferings could not satisfy for the evil that is in one vain thought! O the depth of the evil of sin!

HODGE: Original sin is the only rational solution of the undeniable fact of the deep, universal and early manifested sinfulness of men in all ages, of every class, and in every part of the world.

JAMES: The torments of the bottomless pit are not so dreadful a demonstration of God’s hatred of sin, as the agonies of the cross!

LOVE: Sin is worse than Hell, because sin made Hell to be Hell.

MANTON: Sin is sweet in commission, but bitter in its wages!
The more affected we are with our sinful misery–the fitter we are for Christ’s marvelous mercy.

MASON: Sin digs graves for bodies, and kindles Hell for souls!
A man can never leave sin thoroughly, until he loathes it heartily.
Go to Golgotha and see what sin did there!
Christ did not die for sin, that we might live in sin.
The sins of the wicked anger Christ, the sins of His people grieve Him.

NEWTON: The more vile we are in our own eyes–the more precious Christ will be to us!
Sin cannot be hated for itself–until we have seen the malignity of it in Christ’s sufferings!

OWEN: The seed of every sin–is in every heart!
Christ’s blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls!
I do not understand how a man can be a true believer–in whom sin is not the greatest burden, sorrow and trouble!

PRICE: We drown our sins in the Red Sea of Christ’s blood!

RYLE: Christ is never fully valued, until sin is clearly seen.

SIBBES: The depths of our misery–can never fall below the depths of God’s mercy!
Sin is not so sweet in the committing of it–as it is bitter in the reckoning of it.
It is evident that our conversion is sound–when we loathe and hate sin from the heart.

SPURGEON: If Christ has died for me–then I cannot trifle with the sin which killed my best Friend!
What sin is worth being damned for?
If you have lived like the wicked–then you will die like the wicked, and be damned like the wicked!
Look to the cross, and hate your sin–for sin nailed your Well-Beloved to the cruel tree!
Sin is self-damnation!
As salt tinges every drop in the ocean–so does sin affect every atom of man’s nature!
There is no cure for the love of sin–like the blood of Christ!

WATSON: Sin has the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death and damnation for its wages!

Quotes (737)

Nothing is a greater bar to a minister’s usefulness, or renders him more contemptible than a known attachment to money, a gripping fist and a hard heart.

A day will come when mercenary preachers will wish they had begged their bread from door to door or had been chained to the oar of a galley for life rather than have presumed to intrude into the church such base and unworthy views.

– John Newton

1725 – 1807