Dear Miss Medhurst

(Letters of John Newton)

"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!" Hebrews 12:2

Miss Medhurst,
The best advice I can send, or the best wish for you, is, that you may have an abiding and experimental sense of those words of the apostle which are just now upon my mind, "Looking unto Jesus!" The duty, the privilege, the safety, the unspeakable happiness, of a believer — are all comprised in that one sentence! Let us first pray that the eyes of our faith and understanding may be opened and strengthened; and then let us fix our whole gaze upon Him!

But HOW are we to behold Him? I answer, in the looking-glass of His written Word! There He is represented to us in a variety of views. The wicked world can see no form nor loveliness in the portraiture He has given of Himself. Yet blessed be God, there are those who can "behold His glory as the glory of the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth!" And while they behold it — they find themselves "changed into His image, from glory to glory," by the transforming influence of the Spirit.

In vain do we use our reasonings and arguments, and resolutions — to beat down our sins and corruptions, and to silence our fears; but a believing view of Jesus does the business!

When heavy trials in life are appointed to us, and we are called to give up, or perhaps to pluck out, a right eye — it is an easy matter for a bystander to say "Be comforted;" and it is as useless as easy; but a view of Jesus by faith comes home to the point.

When we can fix our thoughts upon Him, as laying aside all His honors, and submitting for our sakes to drink off the bitter cup of the wrath of God to the very dregs; and when we further consider: that He who thus suffered for our sins, knows and sympathizes with all our weaknesses; that He is now the Supreme Disposer of all that concerns us; that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, appoints every trial we meet with in number, weight, and measure; and will allow nothing to befall us but what shall contribute to our good — this view, I say, is a medicine suited to the disease, and powerfully reconciles us to every cross!

When Jesus is upon our thoughts, either in His humbled — or His exalted state; either as bleeding on the cross — or as worshiped by all the host of heaven — then we can ask the apostle's question with a befitting disdain, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!" What! shall I sin against my Lord, my Love, my Friend — who once died for my sins, and now lives and reigns on my behalf! What! shall I sin against my Redeemer who supports, and leads, and guides, and feeds me every day? God forbid! No! I would rather wish for a thousand hands and eyes, and feet, and tongues — for ten thousand lives — that I might devote them all to His blessed service!

"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!" Hebrews 12:2