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Full House at St Mary Woolnoth

Category Articles
Date December 21, 2007

They were sitting on tables and benches in John Newton’s old church on Monday 10 December 2007 for the Banner of Truth London meeting ‘An Evening with John Newton.’ The meeting was held to mark the anniversary of the death of the former Vicar of St Mary Woolnoth, who died two hundred years ago, on 21 December 1807, and to reflect on how God intervened in his life.

All seats were taken to hear addresses by Brian Edwards (author, itinerant preacher and lecturer) on John Newton, Slave, Slaver and Abolitionist and George Curry (Vicar of Elswick Parish Church , Newcastle-upon-Tyne) on John Newton, Evangelical Anglican. The large gathering expressed appreciation for the evening, which was a ‘great encouragement’ to the organisers.

The addresses were recorded and can be ordered from:

Rev. Dr. I. M. Densham
31 Vicarage Close
Arlesey
Bedfordshire
SG15 6XH

The recordings (audio CD) are £2.20 each. Payment should be made (in sterling) with the order, by cheque payable to Rev. Dr I. M. Densham (NOT Banner of Truth). Catalogues of all Banner recordings are also available from this address. Alternatively, contact the Banner office on sales@banneroftruth.co.uk. or visit Dr Densham’s website.

John Newton (1725-1807), converted slave-trader, preacher, and hymn-writer, was one of the most colourful figures in the Evangelical Awakening of the eighteenth century. He is best known today for his rich legacy of hymns; but he was best known in his own day for the radical transformation of his life when he came to faith in Christ. ‘Once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa’, he once wrote for his epitaph, ‘by the rich mercy of Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy.’

The Trust has recently published a reset edition of Josiah Bull’s biography The Life of John Newton,1 previously available as ‘But Now I See’ – The Life of John Newton. This contains much first-hand material from Newton himself. Considerable use is made of his Diary and Letters. His pre-conversion days, his call to the ministry, and his time at Olney, Buckinghamshire, and St Mary Woolnoth, London, are all covered. This is no arid record of the past. Besides being a worthy memorial to the life and work of John Newton, this biography will also encourage those who love the gospel to consecrate themselves to the Master’s service as Newton did.

It was through his prolific correspondence that Newton fulfilled his distinctive work as ‘the letter-writer par excellence of the Evangelical Revival’. His grasp of Scripture and deep personal experience of the ‘amazing grace’ of God, his many friends (among them, Whitefield, Cowper and Wilberforce), his many and varied trials, his country pastorate, his strong, clear, idiomatic style – all these factors combined to prepare the author of ‘How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds’, for the exercise of his special gift.

The new edition of The Letters of John Newton,2 selected by his biographer, Josiah Bull, bear the practical imprint of all of Newton’s writings; they cover a wide variety of subjects and aim ‘to conform the believer to Christ’. Among them are several that were not previously published in earlier collections of his correspondence. Of particular value and interest are the biographical sketches and historical notes supplied by the editor.

In few writers are Christian doctrine, experience and practice more happily balanced than in the author of these Letters, and few write with more simplicity, piety and force . . . Grace and dignity are united to charming simplicity and devout piety. – C. H. SPURGEON.

What thousands have derived repeated profit and pleasure from the perusal of these utterances of the heart! Nor ever will they cease to be found means of grace whilst God has a church on earth. – WILLIAM JAY.

John Newton’s writings excel in practical instruction for Christian living. His concern was to encourage true Christian character and conformity to Christ. The Trust has recently reprinted the six volumes of The Works of John Newton [in four volumes from 2015].3

‘For myself,’ said Alexander Whyte,

I keep John Newton on my selectest shelf of spiritual books: by far the best kind of books in the whole world of books.

It was Newton’s goodness rather than his greatness that rendered him so especially attractive – the abundance of the grace of God that was in him. In this respect he was pre-eminent, justifying the eulogy of William Jay who speaks of him as one of the most perfect instances of the spirit and temper of Christianity he ever knew. Some men excel in one virtue more than another. But Newton’s character was beautiful in its entireness. It rested on a solid foundation – the initial Christian grace of humility, and of this grace he was a most striking example. He never for a moment forgot that by the grace of God he was what he was. – JOSIAH BULL

Notes

    • Life of John Newton
      price £8.00

      Description

      They were sitting on tables and benches in John Newton’s old church on Monday 10 December 2007 for the Banner of Truth London meeting ‘An Evening with John Newton.’ The meeting was held to mark the anniversary of the death of the former Vicar of St Mary Woolnoth, who died two hundred years ago, on […]

    • Letters of John Newton

      Letters of John Newton

      With a Biographical Introduction by Andrew Bonar

      by John Newton


      price £16.50

      Description

      They were sitting on tables and benches in John Newton’s old church on Monday 10 December 2007 for the Banner of Truth London meeting ‘An Evening with John Newton.’ The meeting was held to mark the anniversary of the death of the former Vicar of St Mary Woolnoth, who died two hundred years ago, on […]

    • Image of the Works of John Newton
      price £65.00

      Description

      They were sitting on tables and benches in John Newton’s old church on Monday 10 December 2007 for the Banner of Truth London meeting ‘An Evening with John Newton.’ The meeting was held to mark the anniversary of the death of the former Vicar of St Mary Woolnoth, who died two hundred years ago, on […]

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