I am chained to a dead body!

(Letters of John Newton)

"Not that I have already attained all this, or have already been made perfect." Philippians 3:12

Alas! alas! indeed I "have not attained!" I love the truth, and I love to declare it, and sometimes my earnestness in the pulpit may make the hearers think I am 'somebody'.

But could you compare Mr. Newton in the pulpit, with Mr. Newton at home and in himself — you would startle and exclaim, "Nothing was ever so unlike itself!"

Well, I believe it must be so in some measure — while, like the prisoners of Mezentius, I am chained to a dead body. But I hope the time will come, when I shall no longer drag the loathsome corpse of a depraved nature about with me. Ah! what a loathsome sight; what a cadaverous smell haunts me in every place!

I believe, if the Lord was pleased to increase my little exercise of grace tenfold, I would be ten times more out of conceit with myself than I am at present.

This is a poor subject — let us change it, and drop a thought about Jesus! In Him we have wisdom, righteousness, peace, power, and salvation. Grace abounds in Him, more than sin can abound in me — and His compassion is fully adequate to my case. With Him there is plenteous redemption, therefore I will trust and not be afraid.

The more vile I — the more glorious and wonderful will He be in saving me to the uttermost! I wish to be humbled under a sense of sin, to strive in His strength against it; and then to be willing to be nothing, that He may be all in all.