John Newton’s Sermon Notes for January 1, 1773

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Page 22

22                                New Year’s morning

1 Chron. 17. 16, 17

            The Lord bestows many bles-
sings upon his people, but unless he likewise gives
them a thankful heart, they lose much of the
comfort they might have in them. And this is
not only a blessing in itself but an earnest of
men. When David was peacefuly [sic] settled in the 
kingdom, he purposed to express his gratitude by
building a place for the Ark. This honour the Lord 
had appointed for his son Solomon, but he gracious-
ly accepted Davids [sic] intention, for he not only not-
ices the poor services of his people, but even their
desire to serve him, when they spring from a prin-
ciple of simple love, tho opportunity should be
wanting. He sent him a message by Nathan
assuring him that his son should build the house,
& that He himself would build Davids [sic] house & es-
tablish his kingdom. This filed [sic] his heart with
praise. My text is part of his acknowledgment.
Omitting Davids [sic] personal concerns, I would
accommodate them to our own use as a proper
subject for our meditations on the entrance
of a new year. They lead us to a consideration
of past mercies & future hopes & intimate the
frame of mind which becomes us when we con-
template what the Lord has done for us.

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I The frame of mind: Humility & Admiration. 23
Who am I, &c. This question should be always
upon our mind. Who am I what was I when
the Lord began to manifest his purposes of
love. This was often inculcated upon Israel,
Thou shalt remember—Look unto the pit from
which we were taken. Lord what is Man! At
that time we were [miserable: crossed out]
1. Miserable. Shut up under the law & unbe-
lief when must have been the event had the
Lord left us there. After a few years spent
in vanity, we must have sunk to rise no more.
2. Rebellious. Blinded by the god of this world
we had not so much a desire of deliverance
Instead of desiring the Lords [sic] help we breathd
a spirit of defiance against him. His mer-
cy came to us not only undeserved but undesi-
red. Yea few us but resisted his cals & when
he knocked at the door of our hearts endea-
voured to shut him out till he overcame us
by his the power of his grace. See our proper
characters Titus 3.3.
3. It was the Lord against whom we sinned
& who showd [sic] us mercy. He needed not. What
just cause of admiration, that he should ap-
point such salvation, in such a way
in favour of such helpless worthless creat-

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24 II That thou hast brought me hitherto. Here
let us look back.
1 Before Conversion His providential care pre-
serving us from [his: crossed out] a thousand seen, milli-
ons of unseen dangers, when we knew him not.
His secret guidance, leading us by a way wh.
We knew not, till his time of love came.
2 At conversion. The means by which he
wrought upon us, supports in the time of con-
viction, & the never to be forgotten hour when
he enabled us to hope in his mercy.
3 Since [he: crossed out] we first were enabled to give up our
names to him. Mercy & goodness have follow-
ed us. In temporals, he has led & fed us. Many
have fallen when we have been preserved, or
if afflicted, [have: crossed out] we have found him a present
help in trouble. Some may say, with my
staff I passed over this Jordan. In Spiri-
tuals—preserving us from wasting sins from
gross errors, or restoring & healing, maintain-
ing his hold in our hearts, not withstanding
so much opposition, so many temptations &
provocations. The comforts we have had
in secret & public worship, the seasonable
& undoubted answers to prayer. Grace toan
any dear to us, peace in our families, his
blessing with us a church & people.

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III Are these small things? Yes compared 25
to what follows—He has spoken for a great
while to come, even to Eternity Present mer-
cies are but earnests of his love, present com-
forts but foretastes of the joy to which we are
hastening, O that crown that kingdom, that
eternal weight of glory. We are traveling
home to God. We shall soon see Jesus, & never
complain of sin sorrow temptation or de-
sertion any more.
He has dealt with us according to the
estate of a man of high degree. He found us
upon the dunghill & has made us company-
ons of princes—in a wilderness & has led
us to the City of God. From hence infer
1 Love gratitude Obedience. Rom 12.1.
2 Trust & confidence. We have good rea
son to cast our cares upon him, & to be sa-
tisfied with his appointments. Hither-
to he has done all things well
3 Patience. Yet a little while & we shall
be at home. Rom 13.11.
We are spared thus far—But some I fear are
strangers to the promises. You are entered upon
a New Year. It may be our last. You are
at present barren trees in the vineyard. O
fear lest the sentence should go forth Cut
it down.

Images of John Newton's sermon notes are courtesy of Lambeth Palace Library.