365 days with Newton

29 SEPTEMBER (PREACHED NEW YEAR’S MORNING, 1770)

An unnatural death

‘I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.’ 1 Corinthians 15:31
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 31:1–24

To die daily: that is, to resign ourselves daily to God in a believing consideration of his adorable attributes such as:
(i) his sovereignty. This sweetly allays all difficulties, fears and objections. So David, My times are in thy hand. Thou art my God, therefore into thy hands I commend my spirit [Psalm 31 verses 15 and 5. As a dying person commits his dearest concerns, the care of an only child perhaps, to his best friend, so to die daily is to commit our soul to God as our rightful, sovereign disperser, and to leave all future events to him.
(ii) his power. I am speaking of an act of faith. It is easy to acknowledge the power of God in words, but O to say upon good grounds, ‘I am persuaded he is able to keep’ [2 Timothy 1:12]. This gives an habitual readiness to depart.
(iii) his faithfulness, with an especial view to his promises—to venture our all upon his word. For his sovereignty is to his people a sovereignty of grace. He has told them it shall be well with them in time and to eternity.
You see these things are not in the natural power of man. If you would die daily you must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and some degree of good hope that your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.

FOR MEDITATION: Lord grant that the uncertain remnant of my days may be devoted to thee, and that the prayer which thou hast permitted me to offer for many years, that my close of life may be without any stain unsuitable to my character as a Christian and a minister, may be answered! Preserve me from pride, envy, jealousy, impatience, and every wrong and hurtful temper. Let me retire as a thankful guest from a full table and rejoice that others are coming forward to serve thee (I hope better) when I can do no more. For the rest, I leave all to thee. Into thy hands I commend my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth! Thou hast done and wilt do all things well!
Diary, 21 March 1804 (aged 78)

SERMON: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:31 [4/6]

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