Wise Counsel

John Newton's Letters to John Ryland, Jr.

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(1 customer review)
Look Inside Price £16.50 £13.20
Weight 0.61 kg
Dimensions 22.3 × 14.3 × 2.8 cm
Banner Pub Date

Nov 1, 2009

topic

Spiritual Growth, Pastoral Theology/Pastoral Helps

page-count

428

Original Pub Date

1780 (actually 2009)

binding

Cloth-bound

format

Book

isbn

9781848710535

ENDORSEMENT

‘Some books are for tasting regularly, not reading through once. One such book is Wise Counsel. Newton was the former slave-trader turned pastor, and the author of Amazing Grace. The flavor of his ministry is such that frequent tastes are better than rare gulps.’– JOHN PIPER

Book Description

John Newton (1725-1807) has rightly been called ‘the letter-writer par excellence of the Evangelical Revival’. Newton himself seems to have come to the conclusion, albeit reluctantly, that letter-writing was his greatest gift. In a letter to a friend he confessed, ‘I rather reckoned upon doing more good by some of my other works than by my ‘Letters’, which I wrote without study, or any public design; but the Lord said, ‘You shall be most useful by them,’ and I learned to say, ‘Thy will be done! Use me as Thou pleasest, only make me useful.’ Indeed, he wrote to his close friend William Bull that if the letters were ‘owned to comfort the afflicted, to quicken the careless, to confirm the wavering, I may rejoice in the honour He has done me’, and not envy the greatest writers of the age.

All but ten of the letters in the present volume have been brought out of undeserved obscurity by Dr Grant Gordon, whose researches in libraries and archives, as well as in little-known nineteenth-century periodicals, have uncovered much material which is certainly calculated to comfort, quicken, and confirm. Of those already in print, one letter is in volume 1 of the Trust’s six-volume edition of Newton’s Works, and nine more are in volume 2. Three of the nine are also in the Trust’s Letters of John Newton, edited by Josiah Bull. The rest should be new to almost all readers.

The particular recipient of Newton’s ‘wise counsel’ in this book was John Ryland, Jr. (1753-1825), Baptist pastor and educator, and close friend of Andrew Fuller, William Carey, and all the pioneers of the modern missionary movement. But in the background stand all the major figures of the eighteenth-century Evangelical Revival. A list of Newton’s friends and correspondents would, in fact, read like a ‘who’s who’ of the Revival. And forming the wider background is a very eventful period of history, from the American Revolution to the French Revolutionary Wars, by way of the colonization of Australia, the first missions to India, and the abolition of the slave trade. Dr Gordon has helpfully set the letters in the context of these events and provided useful background detail.

The reader will discover afresh in these letters, not only mature and wise counsel, but a wholesome emphasis on true Christian experience, a great breadth of Christian sympathy, and a strong confidence in the power of the grace of God, for, as Newton said, ‘Grace has long and strong arms!’

Table of Contents Expand ↓

Foreword by Michael A. G. Haykin I x
Preface and Acknowledgements xi
Introduction–1: Overview of the Letters xiii
Introduction–2: The Earlier Years of Newton and Ryland 1
1 Ryland’s Poems – Justification – Humility 11
2 Justification – High Calvinism 19
3 Visit of Rowland Hill 25
4 Northampton – Advice on Preaching 29
5 Spiritual Experience – A Believer’s Frames 33
6 William Guy – Guidance 39
7 Henry Venn – Christ in the Vessel 43
8 Disappointments – Christian Unity 47
9 Betty Abraham – The Fellowship at Olney 51
10 Danger of Delusive ‘Impressions’ 55
11 Controversy with Arminianism – News of Friends 61
12 Blessings – Moravian Missions – Unity 65
13 Hopes for a Schoolboy – Inward Trials 69
14 Advice on Marriage 73
15 The King in His Beauty – Life as a Journey 77
16 American Revolution – Politics – Thankfulness 83
17 Spiritual Progress – The Soul a Besieged City 87
18 Marriage – Waiting on God – Submission 91
19 Disappointments – Providence – The Eternal View 99
20 Courtship – Possible Move from Olney 103
21 Courtship – A Call to Hull? 107
22 Smallpox – Inoculation – Providence 111
23 Overcoming Fear – Bereavement 115
24 New England Divines on a Work of Grace 119
25 Delays – Submission to the Will of God 123
26 Olney Hymns – Earthly Gloss Fades – Forms 127
27 Olney Hymns – America – Lawfulness of War 131
28 Ryland’s Marriage – Advice on the Married State 137
29 Married Life – Move to London – Letters 143
30 Anecdotes – Cardiphonia – The Infallible Pilot 149
31 Trials – Cotton Mather – Simplicity in Preaching 153
32 Ryland, Sr. – Newton’s Apologia 159
33 Ryland’s Brother and Father – Comforts – Messiah 163
34 Death of Eliza – A Great Shepherd – Messiah 169
35 Provision for Ryland, Sr. – Benefit of Trials 175
36 Birth of a Son – Ambrose Serle – Controversy 181
37 Death of Mrs Ryland – God All-Sufficient 185
38 Faithful Wounds – Danger of Excessive Grief 189
39 Giving for Chapel-Building – Sanctified Trials 191
40 Effects of Grief – William Huntington 193
41 Sermons – Family Trials – The Slave Trade 199
42 Advice on Remarriage 205
43 Remarriage –Trusting the Lord to Provide 209
44 Betsy’s Illness – Marriage – Ministerial Success 213
45 Fuller – Controversy – Carey – Botany Bay 217
46 Discipline – Foes as Friends – Independency 221
47 False Reports – Church and Family Trials 227
48 Patience – Mrs Newton’s Illness – Ellis Williams 231
49 ‘No Protestant Popery’ – Mrs Newton Declining 235
50 Mrs Newton – The School of the Cross 241
51 Travels – Funerals – Need for Dying Strength 245
52 Ryland Advised to Ignore Huntington Pamphlet 251
53 Ryland, Sr. – The Lord’s Fan – Let Embers Die 255
54 Bristol – Movements of Ministers 261
55 Abraham Booth – Certainty about a Call 263
56 Advice regarding Call to Bristol 267
57 Bristol Refused – Visit to Northampton 271
58 Mrs Fuller’s Death – Bristol – French Revolution 275
59 Fuller’s Illness – All the Lord Does Is Right 279
60 The Lord Can Make the Crooked Straight 283
61 David George – Sierra Leone – Letters to a Wife 289
62 Fuller on Socinianism – Politics – God Reigns 293
63 Bristol – Fuller – France – Newton’s Politics 299
64 Conduct of War – Sin the Great Evil 303
65 Alarms of War – Eclectic Society – Missions 309
66 Death of Trinder – Friends Given and Removed 313
67 Romaine – Unity in Mission and in Suffering 317
68 A Lofty Spirit – Church and Dissent – Unity 323
69 Mission in India – Carey – Caste System 327
70 Sierra Leone – Servants – Newton’s Ministry 333
71 Newton’s High Regard for Carey 339
72 Macaulay’s – David George – Unity 341
73 Fuller – Pearce – Grimshaw – Value of Academies 349
74 Salvation of Infants – Grimshaw – India Mission 353
75 Seeking Favours – Waiting God’s Time 357
76 The Reach of Mercy – The Missionary Spirit 363
77 Failing Powers – The Lord’s Shop – Preaching 369
78 Mission News – National Sins – Mercies 375
79 Willing to Be Laid Aside – Recalling Past Mercy 379
80 Robert Hesketh – The Lord Reigns 385
81 Cast Down but Not Destroyed – Discipline 389
82 Griffith – A Dark Cloud – Thankfulness 393
83 Prayer – Depression of Spirits – A Chief Sinner 395
Conclusion: The Remaining Years of Newton and Ryland 399
Index of Persons and Principal Topics 405

Reviews

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  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Matthew Sullivan

    This book is excellent. Just as good as Newton’s other letters (in some cases less formal than other letters, which is really neat) and the plus is the inside look you get into the friendship of Newton and Ryland, their times, their lives, etc. It’s a sweet combination of Newton-letters and biography as well. Grant Gordon did an awesome job.

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