Subscribe now

Jewels from John Newton

By Miller Ferrie
October 2016 | Review by Chris Hand
  • Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
  • ISBN: 978-1-84871-555-4
  • Pages: 384
  • Price: 15.50
Buy this book »

Book Review

I feel indebted to Miller Ferrie. You might do too by the end of this review. Why? Because she has carefully, thoughtfully and prayerfully compiled a series of daily readings, drawn from the works of that trophy of grace, John Newton.

It ranges far and wide across Newton’s letters, thoughts about the nation and his doctrinal teaching. Together it furnishes us with excellent reading material for every day of the year. With a Bible text as the heading for each day’s reading, these extracts are a great source of food for the soul. If you know and regularly sing the hymns of Newton, you will instantly recognise the themes and turns of phrase that meet us in his writings.

We would do well to supplement this book with fuller treatments of theological issues raised, but what we have here is the distilled wisdom of years of pastoral and preaching experience from a man who had well learnt the reality of ‘amazing grace’. This is what is so appealing in his hymns. It is what is so appealing in his writings. There is a never-failing sense of wonder that he should have been chosen in Christ for salvation.

In the selections Mrs Ferrie has made for us, Newton is often found setting forth the glory of Christ. Sometimes in fresh and vivid tones, always with immense thankfulness. There is so much tenderness and sympathy that comes through in these writings. Indeed, this reflects the impression that Newton has made on Mrs Ferrie.

In the editor’s preface she observes, ‘What impresses me about this man is his honesty in readily admitting his struggles, sinfulness and failures. This aspect of his writings has been such an encouragement to me personally, for it gave me the assurance that my own daily battles and humiliations are not unique’ (p.vii).

What Newton’s writings have done for Mrs Ferrie, they can do for us. My personal favourites are from his correspondence with various people, many of whom were evidently experiencing difficulties and trials. Pearls of wisdom drop from his pen. What it must have been for those original recipients of his letters, saturated with love and concern for their spiritual wellbeing. These readings can only do today’s needy saints good as well.

As I have had to compress a year’s worth of readings into a couple of months, I am looking forward to savouring at greater length the wisdom this great saint has bequeathed to us.

Chris Hand


Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sharing the Gospel with a Jehovah’s Witness

You know how it happens. Your doorbell rings at the least convenient time imaginable, and there are the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), wanting to talk about the future of the world. Do you pretend not to be in? Do you say,…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Ephesians (Tyndale New Testament Commentary)
Darrell L Bock

Whenever a new commentary is published from the conservative viewpoint on a book of the Bible which is already well covered, there ought to be few issues of concern because there is so much literature with which to compare it.…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Saving the Reformation: The Pastoral Theology of the Canons of Dort
W. Robert Godfrey

Bob Godfrey is an outstanding theologian and church historian. This well-presented hardback stands in a line of top-class writings by him, this time on the Canons of Dort. The first chapter alone is of supreme value. Godfrey summarises the five…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Pressing On, Finishing Well: Learning from Seven Biblical Characters
Michael Black

Not often do we find some of the most stimulating and challenging words of a book in the introduction. But here Michael Black’s personal conviction on the brevity of life and the vital necessity of living each day in the…