365 days with Newton


Instruments for his service

‘And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.’ Genesis 14:18

In the remaining part of this chapter we have two things worthy of note: Abraham’s interview with Melchizedek and his conduct to the king of Sodom. We may be sure the account of Melchizedek is recorded with a view to our instruction, since it is so largely commented on in Hebrews 7 with reference to the gospel. Yet the subject has its difficulties and has given rise to a variety of uncertain conjectures concerning this person. He was a priest of the most High God, a servant of the God of Abraham, though not of Abraham’s family. Canaan was then inhabited by idolaters whose posterity were to be destroyed before Israel. That there was such a man in such a place at such a time may teach us:
(i) that the Lord can raise up instruments for his service and glory when and where he pleases.
(ii) that a person in the character of a priest of God and a signal type of Christ, at the same time the promises were made to Abraham, was a pledge and intimation of the call of the Gentiles.

FOR MEDITATION: What a phenomenon has Mr Wilberforce sent abroad! Such a book, by such a man, and at such a time! A book which must and will be read by persons in the higher circles, who are quite inaccessible to us little folks; who will neither hear what we can say, nor read what we may write. I am filled with wonder and with hope. I accept it as a token for good, yea as the brightest token I can discern in this dark and perilous day. Yes, I trust that the Lord, by raising up such an incontestable witness to the truth and power of his gospel, has a gracious purpose to honour him as an instrument of reviving and strengthening the sense of real religion where it already is, and of communicating it, where it is not.
John Newton to Charles Grant, 18 April 1797

[on the publication of A Practical View of Christianity
by William Wilberforce]


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