Simon Manchester, senior minister at St Thomas’ Anglican Church, North Sydney, led the main Bible studies at the first week of the Keswick convention this year.
Mr Manchester spoke from Deuteronomy and encouraged those attending to ‘take a great interest in the wisdom of John Newton’. According to the latest newsletter from the John Newton Project (JNP), he told hearers that he reads a Newton letter daily, ‘to soften his heart’ in preparation for his personal Scripture reading.
At the start of his talk on the Wednesday morning at Keswick, he kindly commended reading the JNP website (http://www.johnnewton.org), to ‘take advantage of the beauty of [Newton’s] letters and journals, which will feed you in a way that so many quick, modern, superficial things won’t. It’s a tremendous resource’.
The comments came as JNP uploaded a previously unpublished series of 12 sermons which Newton preached in Olney, from Revelation 19:11-16. Newton introduced this series by saying, ‘We have here a sublime description of the Saviour as he appeared to the beloved John in Patmos engaged on his people’s behalf to fight their battles, and to subdue their enemies and his own.
‘We expect a glorious accomplishment of this undertaking. A day is coming when all the antichristian powers which still exalt themselves against his kingdom, grace and people, shall be brought low. At present we may take occasion from this representation to contemplate his glory for our immediate comfort’.
The final sermon in this series became the basis for Newton’s 38th sermon in his Messiah series, published in 1786 as 50 sermons on the texts of Handel’s oratorio.