Anecdote of John Newton
Two or three years before the death of that eminent servant of Christ, John Newton, of London, formerly of Olney, when his sight was become so dim that he was no longer able to read, an aged friend and brother in the ministry called on him to breakfast. Family prayer followed, and the portion of Scripture for the day was read to him. In it occurred the verse, "By the grace of God I am what I am." It was the pious man's custom on these occasions to make a short familiar exposition on the passage read. After the reading of this text, he paused for some moments, and then uttered this affecting soliloquy: - "I am not what I ought to be - ah, how imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be - I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good! I am not what I hope to be - soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, `By the grace of God I am what I am.'"