One Thing Needed
by John Newton
I think you would hardly expect me to write if you knew how I am forced to live at London. However, I would have you believe I am as willing to write to you as you are to receive my letters. As a proof, I try to send you a few lines now, though I am writing to you, and talking to Mrs.--, both at once! and this is the only season I can have to exchange a few words with her. She is a woman of a sorrowful spirit; she talks and weeps. I believe she would think herself happy to be situated as you are, notwithstanding the many advantages she has at London. I see daily, and I hope you have likewise learned, that places and outward circumstances cannot of themselves either hinder or help us in walking with God. So far as He is pleased to be with us, and to teach us by His Spirit, wherever we are we shall get forward; and if He does not bless us and water us every moment, the more we have of our own wishes and wills, the more uneasy we shall make ourselves.
One thing is needful; an humble, dependent spirit, to renounce our own wills, and give up ourselves to His disposal without reserve. This is the path of peace; and it is the path of safety; for He has said, the meek He will teach His way, and those who yield up themselves to Him He will guide with His eye. I hope you will fight and pray against every rising of a murmuring spirit, and be thankful for the great things which He has already done for you. It is good to be humbled for sin, but not to be discouraged: for though we are poor creatures, Jesus is a complete Saviour and we bring more honour to God by believing in His name and trusting His word of promise, than we could do by a thousand outward works.
I pray the Lord to shine upon your soul, and to fill you with all joy and peace in believing. Remember to pray for us, that we may be brought home to you in peace.
I am, &c.
Index to the Letters of John Newton