Section navigation

Review: Wise Counsel

Author
Category Book Reviews
Date November 27, 2010

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.

 

Latest Articles

Reading Spurgeon December 15, 2020

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born in Kelvedon, a village in the county of Essex in the east of England, on 19 June, 1834. He went to be with Christ from Mentone, France, on the evening of Sunday 31 January, 1892. During his lifetime he became perhaps the greatest preacher in the English-speaking world, of his […]

Free Offer of the Gospel November 13, 2020

This article is the contents of an address first given in February 2020 at the Westminster Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Newcastle, UK. * * * It is one of the glories of the gospel that it is universal in scope. There is nothing narrow or limited about the good news of salvation. It is, Matt. 28:19, […]