Psalm 116:6, 10
The Lord preserves the simple … I believed, even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted.”
John Newton, Letters of John Newton (1776)
To Mrs. Thornton.
My Dear Madam, … Though I feel grief, I trust the Lord has mercifully preserved me from impatience and murmuring, and that in the midst of all the pleadings of flesh and blood, there is a something within me that aims to say without reserve or exception, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
It is a comfortable consideration, that he with whom we have to do, our great High Priest, who once put away our sins by the sacrifice of himself, and now forever appears in the presence of God for us, is not only possessed of sovereign authority and infinite power, but wears our very nature, and feels and exercises in the highest degree those tendernesses and commiserations, which I conceive are essential to humanity in its perfect state. The whole history of his wonderful life is full of inimitable instances of this kind. His bowels were moved before his arm was exerted; he condescended to mingle tears with mourners, and wept over distresses which he intended to relieve. He is still the same in his exalted state; compassions dwell within his heart … he still feels for his people …
With the eye, and the ear, and the heart of a friend, he attends to their sorrows. He accounts their sighs, puts their tears in his bottle, and when our spirits our overwhelmed within us, he knows our path, and adjusts the time, the measure of our trials, and every thing that is necessary for our present support and seasonable deliverance … Still more, besides his benevolent, he has an experimental sympathy. He knows our sorrows, not merely as he knows all things, but as one who has been in our situation and who, though without sin himself, endured, when upon earth, inexpressibly more for us than he will ever lay upon us …
What, then, shall we fear, or of what shall we complain? When all our concerns are written upon his heart, and their management, to the very hairs of our head, are under his care and providence; when he pities us more than we can do ourselves, and has engaged his almighty power to sustain and relieve us. However, as he is tender, he is wise also; he loves us, but especially with regard to our best interests.