From The Reformed Reader and Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings




Written to a church member on the subjects of humility and depending on God.
   Our Good Shepherd
   Strength in Trial
   One Thing Needed
   Dependence on Christ-God’s Prescriptions
   Honouring God-Trusting His Methods
   But for the Grace of God-Preaching in Prison

Written to a fellow minister, these letters consider God’s providence and the joy of ministry.
   Sowing the Seed―Doubting the Truth
   Worries about the Journey―A Good Wife
   Comments on an Accident
   Godly Church Members

Letters to a weak Christian on the subject of assurance. Gentle words of encouragement from a pastor’s heart.
   Doubts― Christian Growth
   Evil Thoughts
   Temptations―Evil Thoughts

Newton corresponded with many ministers on a variety of topics. Here he writes to a fellow labourer about their ministries, the joys and sorrows of their work, and the personal experiences of their calling. Letter 4 includes interesting comments on Richard Baxter and his writings.
   The Proper Attitude for Preaching
   Conviction of Sin―Awakening
   Sin in the Minister
   Richard Baxter―Christian Hypocrisy―The Business of This Life
   Dependence upon God―The Sense of Sin―Doubts
   Zeal and Prudence
   Feelings vs. Spiritual Well-Being

Written to a church member on the subjects of humility and depending on God.
   Faithfulness to Light Received―Resisting Sin
   Our Sense of our Sin

A series of longer letters to an unbelieving minister about the nature of faith. Newton appeals to his correspondent’s knowledge of Scripture, while clearly explaining the nature of genuine spiritual experience. He also fields a series of questions about Newton’s Calvinism.
   The Failure of Moralistic Preaching―Calvinism―Moral Inability
   The Necessity of the Divine Light
   True Faith-Moral Inability
   Faith―Spiritual Knowledge―Seeking―True Repentance

Helpful, practical letters to a Christian in the “School of Suffering.” Newton answers the question,  “Why do Christians suffer?”
   The School of Suffering 
   Doubts and Fears―The Source of Assurance 
   Strength in Affliction―The Secret of Loving Christ More  

Two letters on disappointment only Newton could have written. Written from his own personal experience.
   Disappointment―What is Necessary―God’s Patience 
   When We Awake in Glory

Miscellaneous Letters
   Divine Guidance 
   The Benefits of Affliction 
   Contrary Principles in the Believer 
   The Gift of Preaching―Advice to a Young Preacher 
   How Great is His Goodness!―The Journey to Heaven
   Medical Decisions―Providence and Health

Newton writes to a divinity student, who wrestles with the attractions of academic honours and his call to an evangelical ministry. His Christian zeal wins out, with awkward results. Newton offers his wisdom and experience to an impetuous youth.
   Difficulties of the Ministry―Intimacy with Christ
   Death―Academic Honours―Written Sermons Long Sermons―
   Loud Sermons―Itinerating 
   Parochial Ministry―Waiting

Helpful letters to a woman who is troubled by her sin, and that of her unsaved friends. Practical advice to a person in the world, but not of it.
   Sin―Sanctification―Unsaved Friends 
   In the Lord’s Service―Assurance―Our Shepherd 
   The Pleasures of this World―The Blessed Hope
   God’s Love―Backsliding―London Grace 
   Christian Humility―Christ’s School―Friends 
   Why Suffering?―Glorifying God―His Riches 
   The Benefits of Affliction
   The Death of Friends―Awaiting the Sabbath

Letters to a young woman. Warm, spiritual counsel.
   Christian Fellowship―Amusements―Walking in Darkness 
   Christ’s Absences―Spiritual Experience
   Fellowship with Christ and Friends Contrasted 
   Withdrawal―Being Where the Lord Wants Us
   Marriage―Time is Short

Newton was friends with many Nonconformist ministers. These letters illustrate the warmth and depth of his friendship. He also gives some amusing insights into his relationship with Nonconformity.
   Time―The Tongue 
   Temptations of the City―A Lion in Olney Read a poem about this incident.
   Unprofitable Company―Sectarianism 
   Making Plans
   Interpreting the Bible 
   Mercy to Sinners
   Dying in the Lord
   Illness―The Fast Day 
   Trust in God’s Will 
   Bodily Ills and Spiritual Health 
   One Thing Needful
   The Lord Cares