Thursday, August 30, 2007

Special John Newton edition of Banner magazine

To mark the 200th anniversary of his death, the August/September double issue of the Banner of Truth magazine has been devoted to John Newton. It carries an excellent biographical sketch by Iain Murray. Michael Haykin considers Newton's contribution to the Olney Hymns. William Jay's personal memories of the old preacher are reprinted. The magazine has some valuable excerpts from Newton's writings. As this year also marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, William Wilberforce's recollections of his friend and counselor are detailed.
On reading these articles and excerpts, I was astounded afresh by God's amazing grace in the life of John Newton. How the Lord transformed this man! He was once a blasphemous, almost inhuman wretch. But God made him into a wise, gracious and talented preacher of the gospel. This is his fitting, self-penned epitaph,
Once an Infidel and Libertine,
A Servant of Slaves in Africa, Was
By the Rich Mercy of our Lords and Saviour,
Preserved, Restored, Pardoned,
And Appointed to Preach the Faith
He Had Long Tried to Destroy.

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