29 MARCH (PREACHED 25 MARCH 1787)
Contribute to our national honour
‘Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.’ Proverbs 14:34
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Acts 17:16–34
Whether we are a people exalted by the love and practice of righteousness, or whether sin, enormous sin, be our reproach, and a just cause for fear lest it involve us in ruin, I leave to your observation and to your consciences. I hope there are amongst you many righteous persons, and many more who feel some concern for the wickedness and misery around you. May God enable you, according to your several opportunities, to contribute to our national honour and to the removal of our reproach by joining heartily in the cause of righteousness, and by discountenancing sin.
This will lead you to countenance the preaching of the gospel, which is the appointment and power of God to salvation through faith in this name. The people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. The glorious gospel of Christ is like the sun: when this light shines and is perceived, the darkness of iniquity and misery flee before it.
FOR MEDITATION: Let those lament the speed of time whose hearts and hopes are confined to the present world! I trust we may rejoice that our complete, full salvation is much nearer than when we first believed, and is still advancing apace. Months that are gone, are gone for ever, and have borne away each its own load. Our chief concern with the flight of time is to endeavour to make the most of it as it passes and to work while it is day, for the night cometh. Considered as an opportunity, which, if let slip, can never be recalled, life is precious. It is here only, that we can bear testimony to the grace of God in the midst of sinners and improve our talents and influence, be they more or less, to alleviate the miseries or to promote the welfare of our fellow creatures.
John Newton to William Wilberforce, 22 December 1795
SERMON: PROVERBS 14:34 [5/7] [FOR THE ANNUAL CHARITY SERMON]