You would pity me indeed!

(Letters of John Newton)

Dear friend,
Wickedness prevails and increases in our city to a dreadful degree!
Our streets are filled with the sons of Belial, who neither fear God, nor regard man. I wish my heart was more affected with what my eyes see and my ears hear every day! I am often ready to fear lest the Lord should show His displeasure in some dreadful way!

And surely, if He were strict to mark all that is amiss—I myself would tremble! Oh, were He to plead against me—I could not answer Him one word! Alas! my dear friend, you know not what a poor, unprofitable, unfaithful creature I am! If you knew the evils which I feel within, and the snares and difficulties which beset me from without—you would pity me indeed!

So much forgiven—yet so little love to Jesus.

So many mercies—yet so few returns.

Such great privileges—yet a life so sadly below them.

Indwelling sin presses me downwards; when I would do good, evil is present with me! I can attempt nothing—but it is debased, polluted and spoiled by my depraved nature! My sins of omission are innumerable. In a word, there is . . .
  much darkness in my understanding,
  much perverseness in my will,
  much disorder in my affections,
  much folly and madness in my imagination!

In short, I am a riddle to myself—a heap of inconsistency!

Alas! when shall it be otherwise? I have a desire of walking with God—but I cannot attain unto it. Surely it is far better to depart, and to be with Jesus Christ—than to live here up to the ears in sin and temptation!

But, "We have an Advocate with the Father." Here my hope revives! Though wretched in myself—I am complete in Him! He is my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. On this "Rock" I build—for time and eternity!