365 days with Newton

5 MAY

Black despair turned to hope

‘I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ Genesis 3:10
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 51:9–19

Observe that a sinner that feels the condemning power of the law would never expect or even ask for mercy, if the Lord did not first reveal that there is forgiveness with him. A true law work without any gospel light would shut the soul up in black despair.
Narrative, 10 March 1748:
… almost every passing wave breaking over my head.… Indeed I expected that every time the vessel descended in the sea, she would rise no more; and though I dreaded death now, and my heart foreboded the worst, if the Scriptures, which I had long since opposed, were indeed true; yet still I was but half-convinced, and remained for a space of time in a sullen frame, a mixture of despair and impatience. I thought if the Christian religion were true, I could not be forgiven; and was therefore expecting, and almost at times wishing, to know the worst of it.… Thus, as I have said, I waited with fear and impatience to receive my inevitable doom.

Therefore, we may be sure that those who venture upon general and unscriptural notions of mercy, never truly knew what the word sin means, considered as an offence against the majesty and holiness of God. When a soul has had such a conviction and yet, in the midst of many fears and faintings, continues waiting and hoping for salvation by Jesus, cannot seek it in any other, cannot give over seeking it in him, there is certainly a degree of faith.
Narrative, 10 March 1748:
I now began to think of that Jesus whom I had so often derided: I recollected the particulars of his life, and of his death—a death for sins not his own, but, as I remembered, for the sake of those who in their distress should put their trust in him.… He was pleased to show me at that time, the absolute necessity of some expedient to interpose between a righteous God and a sinful soul. Upon the gospel-scheme I saw at least a peradventure of hope, but on every other side I was surrounded with black unfathomable despair.

FOR MEDITATION: O bless him for Christ—that ever that precious name sounded in your ears.

SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 9 [3/3], GENESIS 3:8–13

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