John Newton on Hearing Sermons

What a beautiful picture of how God works through His ministers.

Newton reminds his reader that ministers of the Gospel have a diversity of gifts from the Spirit. Check this: Some are more happy in alarming the careless, other in administering consolation to the wounded conscience. Some are set more especially for the establishment and confirmation of the Gospel doctrines; others are skillful in solving casuistical points.


I have heard a few sermons in my day, logging at least 2 per week most Sundays for the past 40 some years and more than 1300 during my days as a Student Lifer. That’s a lot of time in the pew. Its also a lot of opportunities to become critical, jaded, and under-impressed.

I was recently challenged by the sage advice given by John Newton to a young correspondent: “You have frequent opportunities of hearing the Gospel. This is a great privilege; but like all other outward privileges, it requires grace and wisdom to make a due improvement of it. . .” I can’t get this out of my head. Newton reminds the young man that hearing sermons is a blessing, but contains snares.

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