Topic: Ordained means, evangelism, providence

“The power is all of God; the means are likewise of his appointment; and He always is pleased to work by such means as they show that the power is his. . . . All these means were exceedingly disproportionate to the effect; but He who ordered them to be used accompanied them with the power.  Yet if Moses had gone without his rod, if Joshua had slighted the rams’ horns, if the prophet had thought it foolishness to speak to dry bones, or the blind man refused to wash his eyes, nothing could have been done.  The same holds good in the present subject: I do not reason, expostulate, and persuade sinners, because I think I can prevail with them, but because the Lord has commanded it.  He directs me to address them as reasonable creatures; to take them by every handle; to speak to their consciences; to tell them of the terrors of the Lord, and of his tender mercies; to argue with them what good they find in sin; whether they do not need a Saviour; to put them in mind of death, judgment, and eternity, etc.  When I have done all, I know it is to little purpose, except the Lord speaks to their hearts; and this to his own, and at his own time, I am sure He will, because he has promised it.”

John Newton, to Rev. Thomas Jones (October 20, 1767)

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