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

Crich

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Jesus in Jerusalem: Prelude to the cross
Robert Bashford

This is a most helpful and informative book in which, from all four Gospels, Robert Bashford examines the last week of Jesus’s ministry in Jerusalem. In a useful introduction, he suggests a chronological timetable and deals convincingly with the alleged…

See all book reviews
The History and Theology of Calvinism
Curt Daniel

This must be the most comprehensive study of the subject available today. It is difficult to think of any aspect of Calvinism that is not covered. It is divided into two major sections. The first covers the history, and ranges…

Searching Our Hearts in Difficult Times
John Owen

It is difficult to do this book justice in a review – the only way to grasp how helpful it is will be to read it for yourself. John Owen has a reputation for writing in a style that is…

An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian vision for every stage of life
Crawford Gribben

This unusual yet valuable book is not a biography of the influential Puritan. Rather its purpose – which it achieves capably – is ‘to discover the kind of life he hoped his readers would experience’ (p.13). Drawing on Owen’s extensive…