Review: Wise Counsel
Although John Newton is best remembered as a hymn writer, many believe that his greatest gift was as a letter writer. This wonderful book strengthens that point of view. It consists of 83 letters written to Pastor John Ryland Jr. between 1771 and 1803.
The editor, Grant Gordon, has not only unearthed dozens of letters which had previously been lost in obscurity but also painstakingly reconstructed the circumstances surrounding the writing of each one.
John Newton writes in an easy, conversational style. We see his wit, his wisdom and his humility. We read of his advice to the young pastor as he seeks a wife. We see his gracious reaction to doctrinal controversies. We benefit from his pastoral counsel when Ryland’s wife dies. We learn from his considered words on warfare.
This was a momentous period in British history. The American war of Independence was fought. Captain Cook explored the Pacific and Britain was blessed with many spiritual men such as John Wesley, Charles Simeon and William Wilberforce. John Newton’s correspondence reflects all this with fascinating snippets and details such as the introducing of a new hymn (Amazing Grace) and the financial needs of a young pastor (William Carey).
The result is that John Newton the man is brought to life: this is the closest you can come to having a conversation with an extraordinary man. Read and enjoy.
This review was first published on GoodBookReviews.org.uk. The site has been closed as of March 2019.
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