Receive his help by grace alone
‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.’ Isaiah 41:10
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Isaiah 30:15–21
Are some saying, ‘These are good things indeed, but I fear not for me.’ Why not? Where are you excepted? They are for you, if you truly desire them and will be content to receive them of grace, without money or price. They are freely given but cannot be bought. Do not expect that you must do a great deal for yourself, and that then the Lord will make up the rest. It is his own work and he will not suffer you to share the glory. But remember, none have a right to apply it who do not feel themselves empty, poor, blind and naked. Take notice it is not your holding with the truth and assenting to what others say, will make you a believer. There are some who will think well of themselves and when they hear of the troubles and fears of exercised souls are ready to say, ‘I pity them, poor things, but for my part I dare not distrust the Lord’—when yet they never knew what it was to trust him. They affect to talk like the Lord’s people, but every word betrays their ignorance. To such the Lord’s word is not, Fear not, but, Take heed lest you are deceived [Luke 21:8]. Examine, there are many false pretenders—you are healed before you are wounded, lifted up before you ever were cast down—you talk of being filled when you have never been emptied. This is not the Lord’s methods.
FOR MEDITATION: I know that I cannot make you truly religious, nor can you make yourself so. It is the Lord’s work, and I am daily praying to him to bless you indeed. But he has a time; till then, I hope you will wait upon him according to your light, in the use of appointed means. I do not wish you to affect more of religion in your appearance than you are really conscious of. There is some danger of this in a family where a religious profession is befriended. Young people are apt to imitate those about them and sometimes (which is abominable) to put on a show of religion in order to please, though their hearts have no concern in it. I have a good hope that the Lord will teach you and guide you, and that the many prayers and praises I have offered on your behalf will not be lost.
John Newton to his niece, Betsy Catlett, 17 October [1781?]
SERMON: ISAIAH 41:10 [5/5]