Newton on the New Year (1773)

John Newton penned this diary entry on Friday, January 1st, 1773:

This is the Ninth New Year’s day I have seen in this place. I have reason to say, The Lord crowneth every year with his goodness. The entrance of this finds me and my _[Polly] in health and peace. I am still favoured with strength, and with some liberty for my public work and hope the Lord is still pleased to work by me, for the edification of his people already called, and the awakening of sinners.

As to myself, it is given me to trust in the Lord Jesus for life and salvation – I know he is both willing and able to save. Upon him as an All-sufficient Saviour and upon his word of promise I build my hope, believing that he will not suffer me to be put to shame. My exercise of grace is faint, my consolations small, my heart is full of evil, my chief sensible burdens are, a wild ungoverned imagination, and a strange sinful backwardness to reading the Scriptures, and to secret prayer. These have been my complaints for many years, and I have no less cause of complaint than formerly. But my eye and my heart is to Jesus. His I am, Him I desire to serve, to him I this day would devote and surrender myself anew.

O Lord, accept, support, protect, teach, comfort and bless me. Be thou my Arm, my Eye, my Joy and my Salvation. Mortify the power of sin, and increase the image of thy holiness in my heart. Anoint me with fresh oil, make me humble, faithful, diligent and obedient. Let me in all things attend to thy word as my rule, to thy glory as my end, and depend upon thy power and promise for safety and success.

I am now in the 49th year of my age, and may expect in the course of a few years at most to go whence I shall no more return, nor have I a certainty of continuing here a single year or even a month or a day. May thy grace keep me always waiting till my appointed change shall come, and when the summons shall come may I be enabled to rejoice in thee, as the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.