John Newton's Letters

O for a warmer heart

May 19, 1775
My dear Sir,
I hope you will experience the Lord present with you—at all times and in all places. When it is so, we are at home everywhere; when it is otherwise, home is a prison, and abroad a wilderness. I know what I ought to desire, and what I do desire. I point him out to others as the all in all; I esteem him as such in my own judgment; but, alas! my experience abounds with complaints. He is my sun; but clouds, and sometimes walls, intercept him from my view. He is my strength; yet I am prone to lean upon broken reeds. He is my friend; but on my part there is such coldness and ingratitude as no other friend could bear with! But still he is gracious, and shames me with his repeated multiplied goodness to me. O for a warmer heart, a more simple dependence, a more active zeal, a more sensible deliverance from the effects of this body of sin and death!

He helps me in my endeavors to keep the vineyards of others; but, alas! my own vineyard does not seem to flourish as some do around me! However, though I cannot say I labor more abundantly than they all, I have reason to say, with thankfulness, "By the grace of God, I am what I am!" My poor story would soon be much worse, did not he support, restrain, and watch over me every minute! Let me entreat your praises and prayers, on the behalf of me and mine; and may the Lord bless you and yours with an increase in every good.