I would have carried the whole human race to hell with me!

(Letters of John Newton)

"B
y the grace of God—I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

October 27, 1778
My dear friend,
How industriously is Satan served! I was formerly one of his most active under-tempters! Not content with running down the broad way which leads to destruction by myself—I was indefatigable in enticing others! And, had my influence been equal to my wishesI would have carried the whole human race to hell with me! And doubtless some have already perished, to whose destruction I was greatly instrumental, by tempting them to sin, and by poisoning and hardening them with principles of infidelity. And yet I was spared! When I think of the most with whom I spent my ungodly days of ignorance, I am ready to say, "I alone have escaped alive!"

Surely I have not half the activity and zeal in the service of Him who snatched me as a brand out of the burning—as I had in the service of His enemy! Then the whole stream of my endeavors and affections went one way; now my best desires are continually crossed, counteracted, and spoiled, by the sin which dwells in me! Then the tide of a corrupt nature bore me along; now I have to strive and swim against it.

Had my abilities and opportunities been equal to my heart desires—I would have been a monster of profaneness and profligacy! A common drunkard or harlot is a petty sinner—compared to what I once was! I had unabated ambition, and wanted to rank in wickedness among the foremost of the human race!

"O to grace how great a debtor—daily I'm constrained to be!"